Can't we all just get along?

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

The great divide in the nation was apparent in a small crowd at the County Commission auditorium last Saturday morning during a town meeting conducted by one of our local members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Ocala).
The small crowd was largely pro-Stearns and anti-Obama, but those who were in favor of the administration weren’t bashful about making their feelings known.
That resulted in a couple of shouting incidents which were ugly at times.
It’s doubtful that anyone’s mind was changed during this meeting. There were those who defended the administration mandate forcing religious institutions to provide birth control in their health care plans for employees. There were those who were equally passionate against that decision.
There were also a couple of people who brought up the possible impeachment of the president, calling on Stearns to back such a move. Evidently they were unaware that any impeachment would go to trial in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and that such a move by the Republican-controlled House would be a waste of time and money.
To his credit, Stearns stayed calm throughout, trying to keep the discussions on point.
Since this was a town meeting and not a political event, Stearns did not refer to his candidacy until he was asked near the end of the meeting and he explained that he was running in District 3, which would include many of the people to the north of Marion County who are already Stearns’ constituents in the current District 6.
The crowd was a microcosm of what is going on in the country today. People can’t agree on politics, won’t compromise (one person said, “compromise is not a dirty word”), and try to out-shout their opponents instead of having a rational dialogue.
These same people complain loud and long about Congress not being able to come to an agreement, but they show why in their behavior at town meetings such as this. How can we expect our leaders to compromise when those of us at the local level can’t do the same?
Being civil starts at the local level. Some of the people who attended the town meeting Saturday seem to know that. Others, however, didn’t.
We can only hope that someday they’ll learn.