September 1st, 2012
04:30 PM ET

Letters to the President #1321: 'My kind of town... or maybe yours'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama. He is running for re-election, so he doesn't write back. At least I think that is the reason.

Dear Mr. President,

It occurs to me in this lull between the Republican and Democratic conventions, that it must be an amazing experience for you politicos to engage in these spectacles.

For a few days, each party so utterly takes over their respective host towns, that attendees are virtually surrounded by like-minded souls. I mean, of course, ignoring us media types who literally surround you from time to time. In other words, for a short period Democrats and Republicans alike get a taste of the world as they would have it.

Of course, you don't get to change the tax code, or the regulations, or the speed limit, but you do get to be firmly ensconced with people who think largely the way you do. The question I have is, does that feel good or... well, not so good?

I often enjoy the company of people who share my ideas. For example, I'd rather spend an evening with someone who would like to grab a po-boy, go to an Alabama Shakes concert, and then eat Krispy Kreme on the way home than, oh say, someone who thinks a good time consists of slapping on some Lady Gaga (who, forgive me, is boring) and debating the merits of the designated hitter (even more boring.)  However, many of the most important things I have learned in life have come from people with whom I disagree. So I don't think I would be thrilled to take a getaway vacation with too many folks who see things too much as I do.

And as for living in a world as just one group would have it? Hmm... that sounds like a dicey proposition. I know that plenty of Democrats have no patience for Republicans, and vice versa. But when we talk about diversity, I think... much more than simply race, or skin color... this is what we should be talking about: Being tolerant of people with whom we vehemently disagree, and recognizing that they still belong in our society, deserve respect, and have something to teach us.

Hope we have a chance to chat in Charlotte.


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