A bit more on my January 16th post…

It’s hard to say just why this is, but somehow there are widespread conversations now going on regarding more than just guns. We’re also talking about immigration reform as well. And climate change.

These are all good things, and as I suggested earlier as it applies to guns, this is very much what needs to happen. The idea is to air as many ideas as possible, and if they begin emerging from our state and national leaders, so much the better; it is an amazing change from the way issues have been handled in the past. In recent years it has become so tiresome to see people simply throw up their hands in dismissal and say nothing can be done — and you name the issue and the doubters.

It may be that people have found their collective voice via the ease of electronic media. I read a number of pundits every day in several newspapers on-line and I’m impressed by the numbers of comments by readers, some in the hundreds for a particularly hot column. And those opinions can range from the obviously dumb to the profound, but they are there, and they often continue to accumulate even as you begin to review them. Most important, in so many cases you get a sense that people do have reasons for their views; perhaps not always what you might agree with, but sincere, nonetheless.

And that is real progress, both in openness and a desire to join the dialog, and in an earnestness and a willingness to listen. This is the way important issues get aired, and in the end, resolved.

Back to the guns, I was watching an early discussion on NBC soon after Sandy Hook, and was at least surprised to hear a commentator speak of the need to hear the concerns of gun owners as well as people who were appalled at the availability of military-style weapons. Surprised, but then in accord with the approach, because consensus, no matter how strong opinions are on both sides of an issue, is essential.

It goes along with the business of “perfect is the enemy of good” — and you can make that “very” good. Mr. Obama has applied that to political goals in asserting that you can’t always get what you want, so aim for most of it. Or according to Mr. Jagger: “You can’t always get what you want, you get what you need.”

Again, we’re now starting to see some of that, and it is definitely encouraging, especially on the political front. To a degree, it may signal the erosion of the kinds of ideology that have been strangling an arrival of “the good” in recent years. Or, if you like, progress.

We, as Americans, have forever been a contentious people, and we have a reputation for being ready to argue over almost anything. But we also have a reputation for being able to resolve all kinds of questions, from the simple to the horrific, the easy stuff to the heartfelt. And when we stop talking about things, when the volume gets altogether too loud, and one side or the other storms out of the room, both parties lose,  as they — we — have more than once, big time.

So when you hear politicians and your neighbors going on and on about the big questions of the day, be glad. It’s the way it should be. Because as long as we’re face to face and talking, there’s a much better chance that we can reach that wonderful state called agreement.

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