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A lesson in civil discourse

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In 1776, we Americans threw off the yoke of the British Empire by signing the Declaration of Independence.  The Boston Tea Party in 1773 was the spark that led the Colonies to send representatives to Philadelphia. It was these representatives who took that brave action on July 4, 1776, setting an example that most of the rest of the world has since followed.
Now, in 2012, the Democratic Republic that we formed so long ago is once more in danger:  our elected representatives seem incapable of governing this free nation, and are in stalemate on most issues.  They can only agree on issues that are strongly advocated by the most powerful corporations, the ones who provide millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
For example, they appear willing to cede our trade in the Pacific to an external authority in which we have no representation!  In recent years they have given the banking industry the authority to regulate our economy however they wish.  Just look at the result!
We need to bring back the art of Civil Discourse so that we the people, who disagree on so many issues, can still discuss in a rational way the problems that we all face, and in that way find solutions that we can agree on.
Paul Frederickson
Los Alamos