Letter to the Editor: The Art of Critical Thinking Is Needed Today

Peninsula Pulse editor Debra Fitzgerald’s perspective in the Oct. 14-21 issue states that “we use information to formulate beliefs, but that happens early in life as we’re creating our road map. Once a map is drawn, very few people want to change it or start another.” This in response to the large number of letters to the editor that use facts and figures to try to sway a person’s political view.

Perhaps the assertion that people formulate an opinion early in their life and few change their minds or question what they believe is true in today’s society. But I remember when the art of questioning and critical thinking once had deep roots in our educational system. There was even a time when I taught these skills to adults who were returning to school.

Is the problem in our divisive political climate that very few people have the ability and initiative to critically analyze diverse opinions? Our media zero in on key buzzwords such as “freedom” and “democracy,” pitting one party against the other, insinuating that if you are for the Republican Party, you are voting against freedom and democracy. If you are for the Democratic Party, you are for freedom and democracy. No one questions the narrative. If you attempt to question the narrative, there’s a good possibility you get a label of some kind of extremist.

Let’s remember that the United States of America is a constitutional republic form of democracy with a system of governmental checks and balances. This is very different from a democratic system where 51.1% can force its will on 49.9%. 

I do not want a government whose role is to be my watchdog. In my opinion, the overturning of Roe v. Wade did not abolish women’s rights – it empowered all women at the state level. It’s at the state level where all the discussion needs to take place. 

In the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Kathleen Maci

Ellison Bay, Wisconsin