In my opinion, the gathering at Veterans Park in Boulder to consider ways to promote civility and peace in our community was a success. I attended with dozens of other community members. No one seized the opportunity to promote themselves, their ideas or their interest. No one tried to stand out or set themselves apart or above the rest. There were no banners, costumes, uniquely designed flags, chants, or intimidating messages on clothing. No one openly revealed that they were carrying a weapon, and I was grateful no opposing group formed to challenge this peaceful assembly. It was short and quiet and no one tried to sell anything. After attending, we were asked to share our thoughts through a letter to the editor, a homework assignment if you will.

Before we can discuss issues, we must take small, simple steps toward civility, like those taken at the Boulder gathering. I would suggest turning down political rhetoric. At some point, our country may, God forbid, really fall under attack like it did in 1941, and then will be the time for that win-at-all-cost mentality, and time for whipping the American people into a zealous, violent, intimidating frenzy. But until then, let's conserve our energy, or as young people say today, "slow our roll." Let us now enjoy the peace, and stop trying to scare our fellow Americans. We need to resist the urge to vilify, intimidate and totally destroy our fellow Americans because they bring forth different ideas. Let us reject candidates that play on our fears or engage in character assassination, and reward those with integrity. We must too ask ourselves if we believe things that simply are not true. We should then rejoice in casting out those often fear-based ideas we have embraced: Not the hugely important spiritual beliefs we hold, which are sacred and constitutionally protected, but the smaller items. Start by standing up for justice and openly defend a fellow American against slander, even if you stand alone. It's surreal today to listen to elected leaders explain what transpired in D.C. a year ago. Some seem to change their view depending on their audience, shame on them. I suppose some believe those who stormed the Capitol had a better plan of how to run the government, and count votes, and should have been afforded the opportunity. I do not. We must remove much of the emotion and rhetoric from our daily lives and become independent, brave people of reason, and stop questioning people's love of country and allow all to bring forth their best ideas on how to build a more perfect union.

There is some good news. Our local school boards and administrators, and city and county governments, seem to be serving as examples of people with varied political philosophies getting things done and bringing good things to Boulder. Could that be because they are elected or hired on a nonpartisan basis and serve the needs of their local constituents, and are not beholden to any national agenda and forced to cater to some popular talking piece disguised as a journalist with a huge national following?

Fritz Bieler is a resident of Boulder.

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