Despite our political differences, we must listen to each other


The U.S. Capitol in 2021. We must seek compromise with those we disagree with, two veteran political pollsters write.


We are a bipartisan team of political pollsters with a new year’s resolution for all of us: Treat everyone with respect, regardless of political beliefs.

In recent years, we’ve turned our attention to the issue of civility, taking a close look at the feelings of the electorate as it relates to the division between Republicans and Democrats.

As we contemplate the changes we commit to in the new year, we would like to suggest a different approach to engaging with your friends and relatives: Be open-minded, be honest, and be respectful. 

One reason we have always been able to listen to one another with respect while often holding differing viewpoints is that we are able to find common ground. Celinda is a Democrat and I’m a Republican, but we respect one another and we are honest with each other. 

We have conducted polls together for almost three decades, working to determine how voters feel about the most pressing issues of the day. Time after time, we find nuggets of hope, and with every new poll, we gain new insight. In our most recent poll, conducted during November 2022, 68% of voters polled after the 2022 midterms prefer a politician willing to work to get things done, even if it sometimes compromises their values. If nothing else, this shows optimism for America’s future. 

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What lesson should we take away as we enter a new year? We need to appreciate the value of coming together and recognize the misconceptions that stand in the way. To achieve new goals and objectives, we must seek compromises with our friends and colleagues, even if we are forced to sacrifice something valuable.

We must learn from one another and share ideas to make this world a better place. When your relative or friend kicks off a conversation at the dinner table, sit back and listen. Listen to what they have to say and find places where you can agree with one another. You don’t have to agree with everything they say but look for common ground and be respectful. 

One of the reasons we co-authored “A Question of Respect: Bringing Us Together in a Deeply Divided Nation,” is to shed light on the need for Americans to come together. If we truly believe we are going to solve the most pressing problems facing our country, the world, and humanity, then the status quo is not sustainable. As a society, we must find a way to heal our country. 

Let’s begin by reflecting on the changes that have been made thus far to help move our country in the right direction, and make a resolution to treat others with respect in 2023.

Ed Goeas, partner, Tarrance Group
Celinda Lake, president, Lake Research Partners

Biden, Ford and classified documents

With the recent discovery of classified documents from President Joe Biden’s role as vice president, the Biden response is much different than the response by Donald Trump in relation to the discovery of classified documents in his possession. Biden has cooperated and turned over the materials, while Trump claims they are his personal possession and that he declassified them via a thought process.

But all this recalls American history when Gerald Ford published his 1965 book “Portrait of the Assassin,” relating to his role on the Warren Commission. In the first chapter, Ford recalls the possibility of Lee Harvey Oswald being an FBI or CIA agent and publishes excerpts of the commission meeting discussing such. Ford published classified documents. Ford was asked about this and he replied that this was an “inadvertent error,” an adjective Biden is now using.

Oh, how history repeats itself.

Scott G. Burgh, Kimball

It’s always someone else….

Mayor Lori Lightfoot always has an excuse, just like the excuse about recruiting CPS students and City College students to work on her mayoral campaign. She offers a rare public apology — that’s because she never apologizes for anything, it is everyone else’s fault. She blames it on a campaign staffer because she won’t take the blame.

Hey Mayor Lightfoot, the buck stops with you and only you, so quit blaming someone else for your failures. It is always one thing after another. Own it.

Gerald Burnson, Tinley Park

Hydrogen cars, not electric, are the future

I still look at electric cars as a future fantasy. I don’t believe people are serious about switching to total electric transportation because nothing indicates it. I still haven’t seen an electric charging station anywhere I’ve been. Advertising is out of sight, yet most people who want electrics are on the waiting list until automakers start producing more of them.

Hydrogen has now appeared as even less pollution-causing. Hydrogen burns off into water vapor, so no pollution. Hydrogen is burned in standard internal combustion engines, so no retooling, no strip-mining for battery material and no disposal issues with billions of dead car batteries in the future.

Lastly, electricity rates in the home have already skyrocketed under this administration, and is slowly becoming unaffordable.

Mike Zaczek, Orland Park

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