What Chicago needs is a ‘Conclave on Civility’

To the mayor, the governor, the business community and religious leaders: Bring people together from every walk of life and neighborhood, to hear one another and really listen.

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Chicago is the city that works, and we need to work together more harmoniously, a reader writes.

Chicago is the city that works, and we need to work together more harmoniously, a Garfield Ridge reader writes.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I am a 71-year-old white male. I was born, raised and live in Chicago, and by God’s grace I will someday die in Chicago. I spent 34 years in government service at the federal, state and city levels, dealing with people from every walk of life and every color in the rainbow, from elected and government officials to everyday people, from elites to those from middle class neighborhoods to Cabrini Green. It has helped me to be a fairly good judge of human nature and the human condition.

We all want basically the same thing: a good and safe life for our families, the ability to make a good living, to be free to fairly pursue our desires, and to be respected and to give respect in return.

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I challenge the mayor, the governor, the business community and religious leaders to come together and form a Conclave of Civility, or whatever you may choose to call it. Bring people together from every walk of life and every neighborhood. Have them sit together in small groups, with middle-class folks of every race sharing their desires and fears, with a gang member sitting across from a Chicago police officer, with a homeless person speaking with a Gold Coast resident. You get the picture.

We all need to air our grievances, to not only hear one another but to listen to each other. In doing so, we might learn to respect each other more because we understand each other better. This is Chicago, the City that Works, but it needs to work much better and more harmoniously.

To the powers that be, will you accept the challenge?

James J. Mose Sr., Garfield Ridge

Know our Constitution

President-elect Joe Biden stated that we must look for ways to unite despite our differences. A good place to start would be for every American to look over what he or she learned in high school: our U.S. Constitution.

On the news, I heard a Trump supporter threaten an election official who was doing his job by carefully counting mail-in ballots. The supporter stated that his stance and his threats “were what the 2nd Amendment was all about.” I was appalled by his remarks, but not surprised.

The Constitution is not a buffet from which a citizen may pick and choose. This Trump supporter was obviously upset that the mail-in vote was going heavily for the other side. But if he was so into following the Constitution, why was he not outraged when his candidate violated the “religious test” on the first weekend of his presidency with the Muslim ban? Why did he not care when Trump violated the emoluments clause by enriching his properties by holding governmental events there? Why did he not care when Trump violated federal law by holding back congressionally approved foreign aid to the Ukraine in order to seek dirt on a political rival? Why was he not upset when the president supported voter suppression because “ having too many voters is bad for Republicans?”

Every American has an obligation to know the Constitution. Without that universal knowledge, how can we move past our divisions?

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

Claims of voter fraud

The Trump attack on mail-in ballots is that fraud is easier with them, and so they should be thrown out.

The usual response is to quote impartial experts and Republican election officials to show that they are protected against fraud.

What is stranger, though, is the claim that the way to deal with the suspicion that a few of them may be fraudulent is to toss out millions of honestly-cast ballots to be sure to eliminate the possible few that are wrong.

Frank Palmer, Edgewater

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