Quirk-Silva: Listening to Other Points of View is Critical

Along with many Californians, I’m concerned about the current state of politics. There’s too much yelling, finger pointing, and blaming the other person.

A disturbing trend of politicians in essence telling one another to “shut up” is becoming commonplace. Free speech is the backbone of our democracy, but it’s being cast aside more and more as elected leaders treat it as some sort of inconvenience rather than a fundamental right. Both political parties share blame in this.

The examples are numerous. Earlier this month, United State Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren for reading a letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Senate Floor as part of her opposition to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General.

Last week, California’s State Senate stopped Orange County Senator Janet Nguyen from speaking out against the anti-Vietnam War record of former Sen. Tom Hayden, and had her removed from the senate chamber.

Over this past weekend, Trump Administration spokesman Sean Spicer stopped reporters from various news agencies from attending what is usually an open briefing because those news agencies have regularly questioned the factual accuracy of statements put forth by the administration.

Have we become intolerant of what others have to say? What happened to the concept of the loyal opposition? Can we disagree respectfully and end a conversation with respect for one another even if neither person found anything the other had to say persuasive?

The answer has to start with ourselves in our own lives. As a teacher I took pride in listening to my students, their parents and school administrators and giving them a voice in the teaching process. Being a good listener is one of the things that made me a good teacher.

Now, as a state legislator, I’m working hard to reach out to people who I may not agree with on some important issues, but may have other issues where we can find common ground. Listening and learning about other people’s points of view are important in this job because my constituents and all Californians expect their leaders to work for them and quality of life.

They should expect that while we’re working for better jobs, roads, and schools, we’re make our democracy stronger by listening to one another.

Please join me in setting an example for others to follow by taking the time to listen to someone you don’t agree with today. Our democracy and the children who we hope will inherit it will benefit greatly from your leadership.


Sharon Quirk-Silva.  Until her election to the state Assembly, Sharon taught 3rd grade students fulltime in the Fullerton School District. She represents the 65th Assembly District, which includes Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Palma, Stanton and most of West Anaheim.


Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • zz

    With all do respect but I am tired of Democrats playing nice. It’s time we make some noise and call out those who are creating and spewing the “alternative facts.”

    • justanon

      You’re right, we all need to get out there and do some *ss kicking.

      Hopefully, enough trump supporters will catch on to the fact that they were duped by trump’s faux ‘populist’ BS and start voting in their real self-interest.

      • verifiedsane

        Bring it, pseudo tough guy….I would recommend that you take that genitalia hat off your head first, snowflake…:)

        • justanon

          Oh please, this from the human pustule, lol.

          • zz

            Anyone who has the tagline “verified sane”….usually isn’t!!

          • verifiedsane

            How adorable, two little cultural Marxist doing a facetious goose-step dance together 🙂

    • verifiedsane

      When did the Dumocratcs ever play nice….LMAO

      • zz

        Really? Are you really LMAO? Democrats are always playing nice and clearly from your posts you don’t know how which tells us you’re some misguided tea bag!

        • verifiedsane

          Now that was funny…. 🙂

    • LFOldTimer

      “With all DO respect”??? lol.

      Did you learn that in common core?

      • zz

        oh go away you old fart!!

  • verifiedsane

    Start doing something about the dyed-in-the-wool corruption entrenched throughout California government, Sacramento, OC, and the judicial system. Then get back to us to talk about civility and reaching out across isles. Because until the citizenry experiences some actual results and sees real accountability from our supposed leaders; opinion propaganda published on public employee union funded web sites like VOC, amount to little more than additional shallow political bluster and empty hoopla.

  • LFOldTimer

    Hey Sharon – do you expect Trump to be hospitable to certain media organizations after they were proven to be complicit with the DNC and the Hillary Campaign staff by providing debate questions to Hillary prior to the actual presidential debates giving her a marked advantage during the event? That’s about as dirty as it gets. They accuse the Russians of interfering with the elections (without any substantive proof) yet there IS substantive proof that these media organizations did attempt to interfere with the debates – which are part of the electoral process. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    The media sources that Trump excluded have been shown to be the same media organizations that publish negative fake news on Trump all the time. Do you expect Trump to be on friendly terms with certain media that have been proven to use unfair and possible illegal tactics to sabotage his campaign and now his presidency?

    There should be a price to pay for media organizations that refuse to play by the traditional ethical standards of journalism in the United States. If we the People can’t trust the media – who can we trust?

    • justanon

      “media organizations that publish negative fake news on Trump all the time”

      Proof? Ha, ha, ha.

      • LFOldTimer

        Do you expect me to link the 100’s of ‘fake news’ articles that the anti-Trump media clowns have published in the last year?

        And it’s not just what they write. It’s what they OMIT!

        I’ve never seen the likes of this vengeance and hate from any political faction like the liberal democrats. They act like little spoiled angry children.

        • justanon

          You’ve got nothing.

          Your so-called president … trump, is the biggest, most habitual liar ever to occupy the White House yet, ‘everyone else is publishing fake news’. What a crock of sh*t, even you can’t possibly believe or defend that BS.