Part of the saving grace of a democracy when it is functioning is that, out of the many competing voices there was always at least one calm voice of reason. Even though that voice did not feed either side of the issue or contribute to the chaos, it was allowed room to be heard and to attempt to call the citizenry back to sanity.

But now that the value of voices is measured by how they can be monetized-how they can generate revenue for the media-those voices which are the most shrill, or the loudest, or those voices which feed the controversy, or generate the most heat or reaction are the voices which lead the way. This leaves no room for those calm voices of reason, nor are they encouraged since they tend to calm the waters of dispute and lower the heat and the level of angry reaction which translates into viewer or reader interest and additional opportunities to expand market share and profits.

Those calming voices call us back to a time of civility and acceptance of differences of opinion. They call us back to respectful human interaction. All of these things are the hallmarks of a more humane, unified, balanced and inclusive society-a sustainable democracy, one that does not drown out the voices of reason in favor of discord that can be turned into profit.

This is yet another example of realizing that there is more profit that can be made in conflict than in finding resolution. This is not a very healthy or noble path to follow.

Bob Passi