Dear Readers: Welcome to 'Common Ground' and other changes in Monitor Commentary

The Monitor's Commentary section introduces a new feature, called 'Common Ground, Common Good,' that seeks to soften polarizing debates over issues that sharply divide people. We are also reviving the popular forum, 'One Minute Debate: 3 Views,' that offers a 'third' alternative.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Reuters/file
President Obama signs the bipartisan bill to cut student loan interest rates Aug. 9. The Monitor's new 'Common Ground, Common Good' feature will have a wide lens, from foreign conflicts to neighborhood disputes.

Dear Readers,

Welcome to a new feature in the Monitor’s Commentary section called “Common Ground, Common Good.” It publishes guest writers, some well known and some not, who offer ways to soften many of the polarizing debates over issues that sharply divide people. Writers might define a radical middle where solutions can be forged or simply methods to improve – or even start – a dialogue.

The lens is wide, from foreign conflicts to neighborhood disputes. The inaugural column is by former US Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who urges Americans to mobilize for a middle ground if they want an end to gridlock in Washington. You are welcome to share your own experiences in finding common ground with folks who think differently from you. E-mail us at

In a similar spirit, we are reviving the “One Minute Debate: 3 Views” feature that ran during the last election campaign. Readers liked the short takes on single issues, especially the notion of a third alternative – sometimes a compromise, sometimes an unconventional approach.

The Commentary section will still include the Monitor’s View (or editorial), political cartoons, letters from readers on Monitor articles, and opinion pieces (or “op-eds,” so named for once being opposite the editorial page) that reflect a diverse range of views.

At, you’ll see a new heading, “Readers Respond,” that includes a selection of letters to the editor and comments from visitors to the Monitor’s Facebook page. Some op-eds will also include suggested “action steps” to engage with a topic.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Monitor in 1908, defined its mission as “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” We hope these new features will inspire thought and constructive action, especially toward “common ground, common good.”

The Commentary Editors

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