Readers Write: Why Congress is gridlocked; taking a balanced perspective on Congress

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 24, 2014 weekly magazine:

Hauer: It would be easy to be discouraged by ideological extremes, but many polls have shown that a considerable majority of Americans favor balanced, independent thinking.

Connolly: The comments were insightful, logical, and nonpolitical.

Illustration by Sean Kelly

Why Congress is gridlocked

The Nov. 3 cover story, “How to get Congress running again,” presented some very valuable ideas for improving US congressional rules and procedures. In order to make a major impact, however, we will have to attack the deeper roots of our democracy’s problems. The most important task is improving the quality of our national dialogue and debate, and the key factor here is runaway ideology.

Democracy today is experiencing a major collision between an increasingly complex world and increasingly rigid ideologies. The current political landscape in America is littered with the wreckage caused by rigid, stereotyped thinking. One of the biggest mistakes is to regard the blending of strategies and viewpoints as inherently weak. Balance in public affairs and human interactions is not just a compromise or a bland melting pot; it can also be a dynamic force.

It would be easy to be discouraged by ideological extremes, but many polls have shown that a considerable majority of Americans favor balanced, independent thinking. This leads me to think that it is possible to live in a balanced world where rigid labels and stereotypes are unnecessary and every question or problem is approached from a fresh perspective.

Allan Hauer
Corrales, N.M.

Balanced perspective on Congress

I have read and valued The Christian Science Monitor for many years. It has always been a very balanced, interesting, and thought-provoking publication. I want to give special thanks for the Nov. 3 cover story. The comments were insightful, logical, and nonpolitical. I fervently hope every member of Congress sees and reads it – as well as everyone working in government!

Also, I’m deeply appreciative of the new series “Points of Progress” as well as “People Making a Difference,” which spotlights the work of philanthropically oriented individuals as they see needs nationally and globally and work to alleviate them.

Suzanne Connolly
Leesburg, Fla.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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