We should expect better from ourselves in 2020

While I’ve certainly bid “good riddance” to a few bad years in the past, not until the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2020, have I ever felt a genuine sense of relief that the chapter of a past year had been closed.

I realize that the end of 2019 doesn’t guarantee something better as we enter both a new year and decade, especially with an election season on the horizon and many of the challenges and debates — along with the machinery driving division over discourse — still in place.

However, I also believe in the natural pendulum swing we regularly take as a society in our ever-constant need and desire to correct ourselves in the pursuit of something better.

I still believe that, despite how our divisions have been amplified over the past year, ultimately we share more common ground than our surface tribalism would have us believe.

Over the past year, I’ve had encouraging glimpses of our pendulum swinging away from far right or left and back toward something in the middle.

I met with several folks who wrote in to express displeasure with an editorial, Guest Viewpoint, Letter to the Editor or story.

We spoke over coffee, breakfast or, on a couple of occasions, a beer.

Maybe two.

And in each case, division quickly gave way to respectful discourse given the opportunity to share our thoughts face-to-face.

It’s through these kinds of conversations, held in real time rather than through a digital vacuum, that I’ve seen a genuine desire for a return to a civil exchange of viewpoints rather than pot shots.

We can expect better for 2020 — and should.