Moultrie Observer


November 19, 2012

Expressing opinions undergirds the health of our democracy

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In today’s Rants and Raves a contributor reminds us that we all have a right to our opinions. Certainly we do, it’s one of the bedrocks of our democracy.

Just recently a citizen said he hated one of the columnists that we run on this page. But he said he reads every one of his columns. And that’s a good thing. Reading an opposing opinion does not mean that you are embracing that opinion. But it does give one better perspective of what is being thought and said on a wide array of subjects.

And maybe “hate” in this context really means “very disappointed” or “extremely at odds.” Hate is a very strong word, especially when the chance is great that this person has never met the columnist.

Routinely we are asked here at The Observer why we run a particular columnist. That could be translated to mean, make him go away and his opinion won’t exist.

Well, we feel it’s good to offer a wide variety of opinions. We feel it would be irresponsible just to present one side’s view on issues. Keep in mind that our readers represent what has become known as liberal, conservative and in-the-middle positions. And some may connect to all three of those classifications, depending on when their ox is in the ditch. Funny how it works that way.

The right to our opinions is the first cousin or maybe even the twin-brother of our First Amendment right to free speech and further is linked to our freedom of religion and freedom to assemble to list our grievances.

We typically hear most about “opinions” during an election year. When the smoke clears, most of us want the same thing. A safe place to live, a job that will provide our basics and a safe future for our children. We just have different ideas on how to reach those goals.

In that regard, this newspaper encourages your opinions, whether they be in the form of a Rant and Rave, a detailed letter to the editor or a guest op-ed column.

There may be those who take some of these rights for granted. And there are a few who will take the position, “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” But we cannot grow from that kind of attitude.

Applause to the ranter for his or her comments. Hopefully, most readers will see the great value of sharing ideas and concepts.

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