There is a degree of discomfort involved in subjecting yourself to ideas alien to your own, but doing so is a necessity. Opinions are subjective, of course, and everybody has one. But some are more credible than others, depending, in part, upon the speaker’s exposure to and familiarity with ideas contrary to his own.

When Maureen, my wife, is getting ready for work on weekday mornings, she likes to watch the “Today” show. Apparently, it features a lot of the Hollywood and celebrity news she likes to follow. Meanwhile, I am subjected to the gross bias of the show’s “hard news” segments.

You could say that I’m the collateral damage of my wife’s morning ritual. But marriage is all about compromise and give-and-take, right? That’s why, in the evening, Maureen absorbs by osmosis the philosophy espoused by Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and the talking heads on Fox News.

Maybe we both learn something once in a while.

I rarely agree with the positions espoused by the News & Record’s editorial board, and I’m often disturbed by the tone of the “news” articles in these pages. But it’s important to know what’s going on locally, and to know what issues progressives care about, and why. So, I read the newspaper every day.

It was with the same measure of tolerance (I wouldn’t call it open-mindedness) that I tuned in to watch both Democratic presidential debates late last month. And it didn’t take long for the candidates to confirm my preconceived notion: that the field is comprised of ultra-liberals whose ideas are far too radical for mainstream Americans.

Immediately under assault were the rich — those who not only employ the rest of us but who also pay far more than their “fair share” of taxes. According to the IRS, the top 1% — the class dreaded and despised by Democrats — paid 37% of the total income taxes collected in 2016. In the same year, the wealthiest 50% also paid vastly more than their fair share: 97%.

In light of the hyperbolic rhetoric about “climate change,” I was relieved that those gathered in Miami were able to flee just in time — mere moments before they were overtaken and drowned by the rising waters of the Atlantic.

For decades, Al Gore and the disciples of “global warming” have issued alarming prophecies, virtually none of which have been accurate. Several major American cities were supposed to be under water by now, weren’t they? In 2006, Mr. Gore predicted a 20-foot rise in sea level. But here’s an inconvenient truth: In the 13 years since, sea level has risen about 3 inches.

A couple of candidates were compelled to answer certain questions in Spanish, but such brazen pandering probably alienated more potential voters than it impressed.

Virtually every candidate lamented the fact that the economy, which is among the strongest in the nation’s history, “isn’t working for everyone.” But of course, no economy ever will.

Perhaps the most outrageous idea from the Democrats concerned immigration and health care. When co-moderator Savannah Guthrie asked, by a show of hands, which candidates would provide health care for immigrants who entered the county illegally, every candidate raised a hand. I suspect that about 80% of the American people disagree.

What better way to ensure the re-election of Donald Trump? By simultaneously endorsing (what amounts to) open borders and free health care for immigrants who enter the country illegally, the Democrats are committing mass suicide.

Speaking of moderators, imagine the reaction of “journalists” nationwide if Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh were among the moderators of the Republican debate three years ago. Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow? Seriously?

Tolerance is a virtue — up to a point.

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Charles Davenport Jr. is a News & Record columnist. His column is published on the first and third Sundays of the month. Contact him at

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