I ended last week’s column with the thought that it is a sad day in America and in the North Country when anyone is ridiculed for publicly sharing their opinion. Only through exchange and discussion can new ideas be forged into accepted and successful action. We must be open-minded and have a fair exchange of beliefs and ideas if we hope to advance our nation and achieve greater understanding among our citizens.
I’ve mentioned this point before, but, a letter to the editor in this week’s paper serves as an example of an ongoing trend to publicly intimidate and discourage people from sharing their views with others. I receive many emails, letters, phone calls and in person comments regarding this weekly column. Some agree with my views, some disagree and I assume some could care less and that’s fine. But what is of greater concern is the vast majority of respondents who don’t want to share their views publicly for fear of being attacked and put down. In an open and free society like ours where men and women have sacrificed their lives to defend our privilege of free speech, this form of bullying like all forms of bullying, must not be tolerated.
For many years I felt the paper should have a voice and a face on issues that affect us all. Not coming from the editorial side of the business nor possessing strong writing skills, I did not feel qualified to adequately articulate a weekly viewpoint on issues, perhaps like others, for fear of being embarrassed. Working in unison with our editorial staff a few years back we decided that I would take on the weekly task of drafting a personal column, while our editors would work in collaboration to draft a team opinion piece. I have no input on their opinions, nor do they with mine.