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August 10, 2020

7/30/2020 10:31:00 AM
Let's not demonize those who disagree

Dear Editor:
It's so easy to shun those who are different from us - whether it's the color of their skin, their religion, or even their political party.
A recent lengthy letter to the editor in the Dodgeville Chronicle expressed militant feelings about a whole host of things - from racism to white supremacy to Black Lives Matter to anyone who is a Democrat.
I could answer the false claims the writer stated, but where would that get us? It would be just one more angry exchange claiming my facts are truer than your facts. Everyone would end up in the same corner where they were before.
Instead, I want to say I am a Democrat. I live in Dodgeville. I don't breathe fire. I don't hate my country. I'm not a socialist or a communist or a Marxist nor am I interested in taking over the world. I am a normal white woman who cares deeply about this country. I have many nice Democratic friends who are active in local activities and charities and who care about this country just as much as I do.
We all know this is the country our children and grandchildren will inherit and are discovering that many of our children and grandchildren seem to understand even better than we do that this country needs to take a hard look at race relations right now.
Sure we've come a long way since slavery, the Fugitive Slave law, lynchings, Jim Crow laws, the Dred Scott decision, the Tulsa massacre and so many more dark stains on our past.
But some of our children and grandchildren live in urban areas where they have black classmates and friends who have experienced the everyday indignities we see on the news. They know reasonable, thoughtful changes have to be made now.
Don't get me wrong. I think white guilt is a total waste of time. Like so many others, I was troubled when I first heard the term defund the police until I read a lot more about the history of policing in this country. Yes, we need the police, but we also need changes in our police training, recruiting, funding and jailing policies. I am hard pressed to understand people who think denying these problems will make our country safer for all of us.
My ancestors have been Americans for centuries. They've seen this country go through some of its finest hours - and some of its darkest. Yes, we are moving forward but not by turning our backs on the challenges we face today. These are troubling times that demand that people work together toward solutions. I see little point in trying to demonize people who disagree with you. It's time we listened carefully to each other so we can find some badly needed common ground.
Shirley Barnes,

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