Letter: To rescue our republic, we must repair our relationships

Published: 08-26-2023 7:00 AM

In his book “A Republic, If You Can Keep It,” Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch argues, “if a government of and by the people” is to work, the people need “to talk to one another respectfully, debate and compromise, and strive to live together tolerantly.” There’s a widespread recognition that we’ve lost that ability. In a 2022 NBC News poll, 70% of respondents believe that America has become so polarized that we can no longer solve the major issues facing our nation. I’m old enough to remember when our body politic did solve big problems. Two examples are the Clean Air Act (1970) and Clean Water Act (1972), each passed under the Nixon administration with strong bipartisan support. Together they led to the restoration of a more liveable natural environment for our generation and our progeny to grow and prosper.

A bill scheduled to come before Congress this fall can help us repair our increasingly uncivil discourse. The bipartisan Building Civic Bridges Act aims to get people talking again, the crucial first step towards healing the divide. It would establish an Office of Civic Bridgebuilding to coordinate and support programs across the country that help people from different backgrounds come together in dialogue to address the challenges of political and social polarization. You can find out more at tinyurl.com/BCBA-1pager, then take five minutes to send letters to your congressperson and two U.S. senators. Do it to preserve our republic for our children and grandchildren.

Joel Berman



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