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Nothing bad can come of meeting for Tigers' owner Prentice

Here is what I believe: This country works best when we include everyone of all colors, religions, ancestries and orientations who learn with, play with and learn about each other.

I find that to be self-evident, right there with the other self-evidents (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) the framers conceived.

And it would appear to be self-evident that my definition of self-evident isn't so self-evident, at least to a number of you who weighed in recently on the region's latest cause celebre.

Connecticut Tigers' owner E. Miles Prentice's position as chairman of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C. think tank that promotes anti-Muslim conspiracies, unearthed significant blathering on, the unintended consequences of which illustrated how some of you believe "dialogue" has become a four-letter word.

Blathering, by nature, rarely stays on point, often drifting off the exit ramp and careening into a ditch. But this? This was startling in how it exposed what we're becoming: unwilling to talk to each other to the point that caving into the idea of conversation has become a character flaw.

Let's dig in our heels and focus on being right.

Enlightenment can wait.

Mr. Prentice, who finally decided to meet with representatives of various faith groups, asserting that there has never been discrimination against any fans coming to Tigers games or games of his other minor league teams, originally decided against the meeting.

And, based on reader comments, he was lauded for it.

Loosely translated: This is America, dammit. You get to belong to any group or club you want. And who is anyone to say otherwise? Our liberties are being trampled. It's a non-story. Prentice shouldn't have to talk or meet with anybody to justify his beliefs. A smear campaign. Political correctness on roids. Stick to your guns, Prentice! This is America, dammit!

(Please let me know if I missed anything.)

Except that I have a question.

What is the harm in sitting down to talk?

Why the need to polarize when we can socialize and perhaps conceptualize some common ground? And if the worst that happens is that the meeting is a swing and a miss, what is lost except a little time?

We are becoming a country whose collective psyche is fueled by fear. Fear of being exposed. Fear of discovering that there's room for compromise, after all. Fear our egos will get tweaked during conversation. And so we sit behind the protection of an electronic device to spew our opinions, safe from the rhythms of conversation, which require us to think on our feet. And so it's easier to dismiss dialogue as a tool for the weak.

I'd like to hear from some of you. Tell me: Why would Mr. Prentice talking to groups of people whose views differ from his construe something negative?

I've never thought Dodd Stadium was anything other than a welcoming place. But I also don't believe that's the point here. Just because you have the inalienable right to belong to a certain group doesn't mean you don't necessarily have to answer for it.

Some people in this country — me included — don't understand why you'd ever belong to a group that's anti-anything, especially when it comes to races, cultures and religions. Just because we don't understand something doesn't mean we shouldn't learn a little about it. Or are your egos so fragile that you just can't stand the thought of being wrong?

The story here is not that Mr. Prentice has agreed to sit down and talk. The story here is what the parties involved learn about one another. Maybe they'll all agree to disagree. And that's fine. Or maybe they'll all move an inch or two closer to center, dispel beliefs and stereotypes and have a better understanding of each other.

That's called progress.

I'm sure some of you dismiss that as being idealistic snowflake-ism that's nothing but a waste of everybody's time.

Except that I missed the memo when it became permissible to avoid conversation because your ego has turned you into a coward.

I fail to see how anything possibly negative comes from the upcoming meeting. Because this country works best when we include everyone of all colors, religions, ancestries and orientations who learn with, play with and learn about each other.

It's not about being right, folks.

It's about doing right.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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