[r85] Pond Report: Respect Needed When Discussing Differences (2/9/2011)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Start Date: 2/9/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/9/2011
It is almost Valentine's Day, but not every Hoosier is in a loving mood.

While debating a bill this week in the Indiana House of Representatives, an individual, who was participating in the Indiana State Teacher Association's rally, had to be removed from the public viewing gallery after screaming "liar" after House Bill 1002 passed. This type of incident is disappointing because it highlights a lack of civility when discussing issues that have multiple viewpoints.

Whether holding conversations in the Statehouse or at your kitchen table, there is a necessity to remain respectful and civil towards everyone in the discussion.

Valentine's Day is a time when we are able to show how much we love our friends and family. However, it is also important this Valentine's season that we extend that same love and respect we have for close ones towards the people who we disagree with on issues.

Each day everyone has conversations with people who have differing views on issues. Some are about serious matters like national defense and others are less serious issues such as who is the best local high school basketball team.

In recent years, though, it seems more people are subscribing to the philosophy that their views are 100 percent right and anyone who slightly disagrees with them is absolutely wrong. It's not an appealing philosophy, and contrasts with ideals of the first amendment that gives U.S. citizens the opportunity to freely discuss their differences.

A person has every right to be passionate about an issue, but it does not do the person any good to make accusations or attempt to alienate people who disagree with them on the matter.

This is a concept of respecting everyone's differences is something I would always teach the students in my kindergarten classes. As emotions increase on some issues though, it seems adults on both sides of the argument forget these basic lessons taught in elementary schools.

Hearing and discussing multiple ideas and viewpoints on an issue is not only respectful, but it also can help make an idea better.

Representatives at the Statehouse are able to discuss bills in committee meetings and on the House Floor. Often at these meetings, bills and ideas become more effective because people of multiple viewpoints - both Republicans and Democrats - are able to give input and suggest changes.

This legislative session there are numerous bills resulting in differing views from legislators and the Hoosiers they represent. However, I am going to continue to respectfully listen and discuss these ideas with people who have differing views - regardless of the person's political affiliation.

I encourage you to do the same when discussing issues with your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or acquaintances.

As always, I also welcome anyone from my district to let me know what they think about a proposed bill. You can either contact me in my Statehouse office at 317-234-9380 or via e-mail at h85@in.gov.

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State Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) represents portions of Allen and DeKalb counties.