Opinion: Singular views


“You are wrong, and I don’t want to hear what you think,” barked the domineering spouse to their beleaguered partner. Wouldn’t it make sense to consider what they say before determining disagreement with it? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to have our views challenged openly than to rest insecurely in ignorance?

Indiana Congressman Jim Banks was recommended by his peers for appointment to a review commission. Our nation’s capital is rife with such blue-ribbon panels, special committees, and double-secret boards. One can assume that they are designed to help our leaders gain insight into important or faddish matters and oil the rusty gears of government so that they might lurch forward. In this case, a wrench has fallen into the works. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has broken tradition by blocking Banks from appointment. There are many, given the chance, who would do the same to her. Is it true that open discussion is dangerous in that it only obscures a predetermined truth? Or are we calling folks liars before they lie?

A commission is not required to determine the moment of sunrise. Still, there is much debate about whether we should awake before, at, or after it. We all have our perspectives, perhaps firmly held, of when to emerge from slumber. So, how do we honor the views of those with whom we disagree? It is an alluring temptation to prevent those thoughts that don’t align from ever being heard. It is an alluring temptation to hold back that seat at the table. It is an alluring temptation to invite disingenuous compliance from those who will quiet their own beliefs to avoid expulsion. But do we benefit from their exclusion or are we weakened by failure to seek challenge? Can we seek the truth if we already believe we know it?