Mrs. Speaker: I spent a lot of my week leading up to this meeting trying to convince people of all political stripes, not just Democrats, to come and see you speak. I wasn't trying to get them out here because I think they need to agree with you, but to strengthen their own views through discourse and debate, like the Greeks did in their great democracy two thousand years ago. But I get the feeling that many young people, in fact so many Americans today, are scared of listening to anyone that disagrees with them. I can't talk about politics at the dinner table. Liberals are stuck in a feedback loop, reading the New York Times and watching CNN, and Republicans hear what they want, reading the Wall Street Journal and watching Fox News. Meanwhile, each side is playing to their base, strengthening it and drawing a line in the sand. As you said a few minutes ago, "You have a choice between fear-mongerers and hope." President Bush earlier this week said "177 of the opposition party said 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists." The only thing everyone can agree on, the bipartisanship you were talking about, is railroading a ban on online gambling through Congress, and only because everyone's scared of looking soft on terrorism. There's no chance of a middle ground when you have that rhetoric. My question to you is, what happened to the middle ground, and when are Congressmen of all stripes going to start working for the good of America and not their own partisan agendas?
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