The question often put to this newspaper is: “So why do you run letters from ...(so and so)... he (or she) is off-based on everything he writes.”

The response to that question is: “So why don’t you write down your thoughts and present your position on that subject?”

And then the reply so often is: “Well, I don’t get involved in that kind of thing.”

Then the bottom line becomes: “So what’s your problem? You don’t want to speak out but you want others to remain quiet simply because you disagree with them?”

The Moultrie Observer has long encouraged robust debate on the opinion page. It doesn’t matter if a position taken is contrary to that of this newspaper or contrary to an outside contributor. The important thing is that discourse on issues and events take place. By sharing thought, we often provoke more thought. And it should go without saying that sometimes thought needs provoking.

Our community has numerous people who have expertise in a wide array of disciplines and venue. Their thoughts via commentaries could be therapeutic to community development as well as the very concept of our democracy. But you don’t have to be an “expert” to have an opinion presented to this forum. In fact, rank and file citizenry may offer a perspective that is equally thought provoking and such is certainly encouraged. It’s one of the great dynamics of democracy.

There are countries where this kind of expression is not only discouraged by those in power, but one might even find himself imprisoned or worse if he acts upon such desire. Imagine what those people would give to be able to speak freely about the many issues of their community and nation.

The Observer welcomes any challenge to its expressed opinions on this page. And if you offer a commentary, it’s possible that you might be challenged by yet another contributor. Or, that commentary might support your position.

If you have any questions about the criteria for a guest column or a letter to the editor, please contact The Observer’s editor, and he will gladly explain the process and guide you through it.

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