In this June 3, 2020, file photo, a large group of protesters walk past a billboard urging civility in St. Charles, Missouri. Credit: Jeff Roberson / AP

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Civility is sorely needed in our public forums. I appreciated the recent column in the BDN, “A toxic political situation,” that pointed out that attracting much-needed new teachers will be difficult when all those who serve in education, from teachers to school board members to administrators, are subject to nasty verbal attacks and even threats to their safety.

People with opposing views have forgotten how to listen to each other, to consider the fact that the other side consists of neighbors who see things differently, not enemies who are trying to undermine the foundations of democracy. I don’t have an answer to the question of how we calm things down and stop the hysteria and uncontrolled anger that erupts between people who are members of the same community. Differing ideas can lead to more creative solutions if we can bring the dialogue to talking rather than shouting.

Our local governments are the foundation of our nation where the nitty gritty decisions that affect our day-to-day lives are made, and they need to be protected from the threats and vulgarity that poison the atmosphere for fruitful discussion. Those who serve on these boards and committees deserve everyone’s respect and thanks. If we can take a breath we will find, not adversaries, but neighbors on the other side, neighbors with whom we share life in a small community.

Carolyn Bower