Playing nice
This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I take objection to "Moving from partisans to problem solvers" (Opinion, Jan. 15), an op-ed by Jon Huntsman and Joe Manchin.

Playing "nice" is certainly commendable, but we expect that even from our children. No, the root of the problems in Congress today is not the lack of civility, but the fact that we elect uncivil people.

And why do we elect such uncivil people? Huntsman and Manchin identified the reasons, but relegated them to a secondary position. "Reducing money in politics and building a better election system" are much better starting points than waiting for people to begin being nice to each other.

There are numerous solutions that must be implemented before we concentrate on a change in attitude. Start with overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Provide public financing of all federal campaigns. Ensure that officials who oversee state elections are nonpartisan. Mandate that all redistricting efforts be non-partisan. Remove unverifiable voting machines. Give eligible people the ability to vote rather than set up obstacles.

Make these very tangible changes and then worry about whether politicians are being civil.

Marc Hoenig

Salt Lake City