To the Editor:

In “Sense and Sensibility,” Jane Austen describes a particular character as not “deserv[ing] the compliment of rational opposition.” I thought of that statement after reading John Cervone’s letter in the May 23 edition of The Standard Times. 

From start to finish, the letter was filled with ad hominem attacks that encompassed a diverse crowd: “paranoid, psychotic, liberal zealots,” “ cowards . . .antagonistic and aggressive” drivers,  “weaklings” on the internet, and “insipid, self-serving . . .buffoon” parents at Little League games. Curiously, the letter writer links much of the above to the “defunct Obama debacle.” 

The letter contains some issues worth considering; road rage, trolls on the internet, parents berating coaches, and the violent rhetoric in our public discourse are all serious topics.  However, they are buried under unnecessary vitriol that only adds to the incivility and simmering violence that troubles the letter’s author.

Arguments, political or otherwise, do not have to involve name calling, raised voices, or raised fists. We will be more effective in arguing our position by providing verifiable evidence and facts that support our points. Instead of calling those with whom we disagree hateful names, we should point out the flaws in their argument.  In doing so, we might be paid the compliment of a rational discussion. 

Joan R. Vredenburgh

North Kingstown

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