The Letters to the Editor section of the newspaper was longer today than usual. Counting the editorial cartoon the letters occupied a full half of the “Perspective” page. Eight letters comprise what I like to think of as the therapy section of the paper.
One screams out, “You really don’t get it do you?” as if they’re carrying on a conversation with a person across the table from them. Another says, “I am writing to inform you of my opinion.” Still another angsts over why a road project is taking so long.
I’d hate to think of the newspaper without the opinion page. It functions like a virtual town hall and gives you a bellwether of public opinion. Sometimes the opinions expressed are well-thought, articulate, and reasonable in tone. Other times they are angry and reactionary. Just because they appear in print doesn’t mean they’re worth reading.
What drives me nuts about them is how frequently the authors don’t have a clue what they are talking about. For example, a local hot button issue in our town has generated a lot of heat but little light. Awfulizers write about the terrible things that will happen if we get a particular business.
In our democracy everyone has the right to speak. Right or wrong we can express our opinions and come to a consensus. It’s not a perfect process as is evident on the editorial page. And we do not always arrive at good decisions.
Nevertheless, the respect and access that we give to all our citizens is a far better way to live than totalitarianism where people are told what to think.
I don’t like all the opinions expressed on the editorial page. Some are downright uninformed. But I’d hate to think of our society without that right.