Letter to the Editor

Leaders must help bridge divides

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

To the editor:

I was struck by Joan Stehr's letter of Oct. 7. I share her concern about the national division in this election.

Last week I was discussing with a friend problems in raising children to become responsible citizens. Youngsters often go through a phase when parents doubt their truthfulness. Because their lies are often obvious, we can help them develop behaviors that are acceptable in our society.

As they become teenagers, they often become more sophisticated in their deceptions. Greater skill at presenting the illusion of truth isn't as easy to correct. Sometimes we blindly support our children, believing they would do nothing wrong. Others, however, may respond with frustration or anger as our teenagers continue to deceive. Responsible parents struggle until their children develop the value of honesty.

It is even harder when we have to deal with adults who are adept at achieving their objectives through deception. When adults deceive us we often feel betrayed; it is especially difficult to accept when the president deceives us. When this happens, some folks want to believe so much that they maintain their blind support. However, those who see through the deceptions may respond with resentment. In relation to the Iraq war, most Americans have aligned with one side or the other and have trouble communicating across the divide. If we continue to be divided, it will be difficult to work together in the future. Responsible leaders do not create divisions and then allow them to fester.