It is time for the name-calling to end. It only serves to personalize the political polarization in this country and the vitriol only weakens our democracy and aids the ideological enemies of the United States.
I recently traveled to Washington D.C. to attend an educator’s conference on “Teaching Civil Discourse.” It was sponsored by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. This newspaper certainly seems to be in agreement for much of what Cato stands for. The conference included teachers from all across the United States and across the political spectrum. The point was to emphasize that no progress will be made if this cycle of name calling, yelling and demonization of the enemy continues. Comprises have to be made at times. However, no one will compromise if they do not listen to their political opponents. That is not to say one must compromise one’s morals. But progressives, conservatives, libertarians and others can find ways to work together if it is done by exchanging ideas instead of personal insults.
Not doing so and not modeling civil discussion for our young people means this cycle will not end. Furthermore, it is clear democracy is in trouble across the globe and the United States cannot be a leader when dysfunction is all that our friends see. The benefit to enemies of democracy is also quite clear and the vacuum will be filled by authoritarian regimes that are opposed to democracy.
The Lakeland Times should do its part and stop the name calling, stop the personalizing of policy disagreements and constructively listen and engage with ideas that the paper may disagree with in a civil manner. That is the only way to cool the polarization and find commonalities that can lead to the betterment of the political climate and allow compromise and accomplishments to occur. 

Christopher Bryant
Mercer