Among all the great things about having opinions, two stand out above all others.

It is not necessary to know anything to have one.

It is not necessary to be correct to express one.

These are both apparent in the rants by those who choose to stereotype all tea party members, most of whom they never met, as radicals and racists.

What they can’t accept or understand is that it is not, and never was, about the person.

It is, and always was, about the policies — nothing more, nothing less.

Many of the tea party members with whom I have spoken would strongly support and campaign for Condoleezza Rice for president.

They would vigorously oppose Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. How racist is that?

To assume someone is racist for opposing the policies of a person of a different race is no different than assuming someone is racist for supporting the policies of a person of the same race. Both assumptions are ignorant, irresponsible and incorrect.

I believe the most effective way to deal with people who have different opinions is to understand the other position and, more importantly, try to understand why that is the position taken.

If people from both sides would focus more on the why and less on the what, we could find more common ground and find ways to work together for solutions for the greater good, assuming that is, or ever was, the goal.

It is sad the tendency today is merely to dismiss different opinions as totally incorrect and make ignorant and irresponsible accusations about the people having those opinions as opposed to making intelligent arguments to support one’s own position.

This is equally true of tea party members as it is of their critics, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.

We have a lot of work to do if we hope to make any progress.

Bo Bienvenu

retired business owner