LETTER: The real problem in this country is closed minds

The Dec. 18 letter in Peninsula Voices, “Liberal hypocrites,” deserves a response because it illustrates a core problem in our current practice of democracy.

In that letter, the writer categorizes all liberals as having a single viewpoint.

In writing, “I see the liberals are now saying … ” he indicates that President Barack Obama has accomplished nothing during his tenure, and even if he has, the writer “won’t give him any creditor for having done anything.”

He predicts that President-elect Trump will lead the country to great success economically without reference to other important criteria for success such as national security, human rights, education, etc.

His letter ends with a sarcastic invitation for liberals to leave the country.

The writer appears to be a victim of two types of thinking errors: confirmation bias and black-and-white thinking.

Confirmation bias occurs when an individual starts with a desired conclusion, then attends only to evidence that support his or her viewpoint while systematically ignoring any evidence to the contrary.

Black-and-white thinking occurs when an individual sees his own group as all good and any opposing group as all bad.

Our current, nearly nonfunctional, partisan and highly conflicted political system is populated by persons on both sides who think like the letter writer.

The real problem isn’t President Obama or President-elect Trump.

It isn’t liberals or conservatives.

It is people who refuse to acknowledge that the other group may have some good ideas or that their own group is sometimes subject to mistakes.

It is sarcasm instead of genuine discussion and compromise.

It is bad manners.

Let’s all open our minds.

Gary Stanton,