Lane BeattieWe live in an amazing time – a period of astonishing advancements in medicine, communications, transportation, commerce, computing power, and virtually every scientific and technological discipline.

Unfortunately, the “soft” side of society — our rancorous politics, our sometimes-venomous public discourse, and our dysfunctional federal governance – is not keeping up with the great advances and problem solving potential of technology and business. In fact, our political and governance short falls are acting as a drag on economic progress and our future as a country and a civilization.

Certainly, nothing is wrong with having differences of opinion on important public policy issues. Nothing is wrong with fighting hard for a candidate or a policy position. Disagreement is not a bad thing. But being disagreeable is. The Salt Lake Chamber believes that civility should be a guiding value in public discourse. We have a commitment to respectful discourse in the public square and pledge to do our part to promote civil society.

When political squabbles lead to dysfunction and gridlock, when discourse becomes so emotional and divisive that kinships and friendships are broken, then we know that society has spiraled into a very unhealthy place.

Thankfully, in Utah we do much better. Our state and local governments still work well. Our political discourse, for the most part, remains civil. We remember that our strength as communities and as a state is found in our ability to work together and collaborate – that’s the Utah Way. That should be the American Way.

I see bright and prosperous times ahead if our leaders can get along, end dysfunction and gridlock, and focus on solving the nation’s problems. The amazing energy of the free market system, powered by advanced technologies that are revolutionizing every aspect of business and life, can produce positive movement in economy that creates jobs and opportunity.

As this often-bitter election cycle has come to end, and as we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I hope we can come together as a nation and as a state and solve the problems that challenge us. Each of us, within our own sphere of influence, can make a positive difference.