If we’re really going to get things done in this country, fixing the huge problems we all face, we need to improve the conversation.

The first example comes from something Republican Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) said in an interview published in today’s New York Times.

In an interview published this morning in The New York Times, Sessions pointed to rising unemployment and said that the Obama administration was deliberately trying to “diminish employment and diminish stock prices.”

Sessions told the paper that this was part of an agenda on Obama’s part that is “intended to inflict damage and hardship on the free enterprise system, if not to kill it.”

The problem I have with Sessions’ statement is its supposition that President Obama wants to hurt America and its values. When I think back to President Bush’s two terms, I can’t recall anyone on the left speculating that he was purposely hurting America because he wished its demise. It was just bad policy that hurt millions of people in one way or another. The attacks got personal many a time, and that’s something I’ll address in a bit. But bottom line — there’s certainly a difference between statements like Sessions’ above and what the left said about Bush the past eight years. I’ll coyly wonder what the difference is between Bush and Obama. Yes, they have different policies and they have/are taken/taking the country in two different directions, but there’s nothing that’s been done under Obama that would make one think that he wants to destroy the country.

This kind of statement is illogical and it debases the conversation, contaminating it so that the actual problems we’re facing can’t be discussed civilly and logically.

And I’m not limiting the scope of my criticism to the right. I’m not a fan of Wanda Sykes comments either about Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to oxycontin. It’s a personal attack on someone one doesn’t need to attack personally in order to prove their politics aren’t right for the country. The attacks are all the media can focus on when the conversation gets personal, and so, again, our problem-solving efforts aren’t helped.

We definitely need a better dialogue in this country. I think our political environment since Obama’s election has improved, but in order to move forward and make a good-faith effort to quell the nasty partisanship we’ve seen the past few decades, the dialogue should stay away from illogical attacks and get back to focusing on solving the problems threatening the common good.

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