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MILLIGAN: Need for both views on many current events today
Stephen Milligan
Stephen Milligan

My dad and I discuss politics a good bit.

He’s my main sparring partner on the current events of the day, really. My siblings aren’t terribly good opponents on that front — one is relatively apathetic to political matters and doesn’t like confrontation, and the other has drifted so far to the left that there’s no longer any fun in the affair.

My mother gets most of her political news from Facebook, which I often find less than reliable, and gets frustrated with disagreement, to boot. Her instinct on such occasions is just to change the subject.

So, for the most part, it’s my dad and I who bandy about the political news and try to find some common ground on issues, if possible.

Or at least agree to politely ignore each other’s apostasy on certain matters.

My father is far more conservative than I am, of course. I consider myself relatively moderate, as much as that is possible these days when saluting one creed or the other seems a necessary loyalty test for posting anything on social media.

But we can talk about things in a mostly civil manner. Sure, we probably think less than polite things about certain opinions the other has, from time to time, but we don’t have to share every stray thought, do we?

It’s good practice, honestly, particularly for me in this space, for trying to find persuasive arguments that the other will understand, if not necessarily endorse.

Each of us appreciates it when the other appeals to reason, at least, and not just party line arguments.

And there’s a lot of such arguments going around these days. Too many pundits and amateur poli-sci “experts” resort to personal attacks and strident slogans these days in political debate, rather than actual discussion.

It makes for lively political theater, but that’s about it.

We rarely see eye to eye, my father and I, on many an issue. He still likes to watch Fox News (I find TV news of all stripes to be iffy, at best, and Fox News iffier than some). I like to read my news, though I try to take even that with a grain of salt, depending on the source.

But we can talk about the latest Supreme Court decisions, or overseas conflicts, or other such issues, with at least an idea that each of us will understand where the other is coming from, even if we don’t agree with that position.

I’m sure we’re doing some careful curating of opinions on certain issues, each of us just not bringing up certain topics that will lead to less comfortable discussions.

No one wants to be that guy at the Thanksgiving dinner who spread Q-Anon theories.

But I wish we could see more such discussions in the wider public sphere, rather than just screaming and ranting. Maybe then we could find more compromises on the things that matter most..

Stephen Milligan is news editor of The Walton Tribune, the sister publication of The Covington News. Email comments about this column to