Letter to the Editor

No-compromise politics

Some of the great politicians of the past were good at compromising with members of the opposite party. That's part of what made them great. Examples include Presidents Johnson and Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill. These men and others like them reached across the aisle and helped craft and pass major legislation. You don't see that now. Politics has become so partisan that compromise is a bad word, which leads to the gridlock and bad behavior we see.

There have always been political disagreements, but I believe it's gotten much worse in the last few decades. I think part of the reason is cable news and talk radio. Both came on the scene 30-odd years ago, and both have helped change political discourse from intelligent to belligerent.

If you watch cable news, you know that CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and others are very biased, as is talk radio, led by Rush Limbaugh. All have a following, which they cater to by using spin, innuendo, opinion, partial truths, exaggeration, personal attacks, and other inflammatory rhetoric. They describe political issues as either black or white, and this influences their audiences, politicians included.

These so-called news outlets have polarized many of us and made us more cynical and less willing to compromise, which undermines our system. Most political issues are not black or white, and if we're unwilling to consider the gray, there is little hope of solving our problems.

GARY L. GAINES, Cape Girardeau