2018-06-21 / Letters

A plea for rational and civil discourse; time for respect

To the editor:

From time to time a letter appears in the Enterprise that consists primarily of ad hominem attacks, recycled and debunked conspiracy theories about Obama and the Clintons, over-the-top language, and even threats of violence. One writer said that after every school shooting gun reform advocates can’t wait to start “dancing in the blood” of the deceased students. Another literally vowed to start a civil war if assault rifles are banned. A third writes angry rants that contain so many false accusations that it would take forever to rebut them.

This newspaper performs a valuable service by providing Leelanau County with a forum in which residents debate all manner of public policy. It has no obligation to do so. The first amendment prohibits the government from censoring free speech, but there is no law that says a newspaper has to let citizens sound off uncensored in public on any topic they choose.

It is up to us to decide if we’ll use this forum to help us better understand each other and the public policy issues we face at the local, state and national level, or if we’ll use it to widen the divide between us and coarsen the public dialogue. Let’s show some respect for the paper, for each other, and for our fellow citizens, and not ask the Enterprise to publish letters that consist primarily of personal attacks and vulgar, hate filled rants. Calling those who disagree with us idiots or scoundrels does not generate a useful discussion, and is not persuasive. If you want readers to consider your point of view, try losing the arrogance and maybe adding in some verifiable facts and a bit of logic. Sorry if that sounds preachy, but clearly some folks need to hear it.

Tom Gutowski
S. Lakeview Rd.
Elmwood Township

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