In­tol­er­ant pol­i­tics

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion years are al­ways con­tentious as the lead­er­ship of our rich, pow­er­ful coun­try is at stake, but this year, it seems there is more in­tol­er­ance for po­lit­i­cal dis­course than we’ve ever seen be­fore.

In re­al­ity, that’s prob­a­bly not true; in­tol­er­ance for peo­ple’s thoughts and be­liefs has, sadly, al­ways been a part of what makes hu­man be­ings hu­man be­ings. Our in­tol­er­ance has caused wars and wide­spread hu­man mis­ery, lead­ing to the deaths of hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple, mostly in­no­cent, over the cen­turies.

What makes this in­tol­er­ance more no­tice­able to­day is the ad­vent of so­cial me­dia, which has al­lowed peo­ple to in­stan­ta­neously ex­press their opin­ion, some­times long be­fore they’ve had time to think that opin­ion over and put some rea­son be­hind it.

So­cial me­dia and web­sites have al­lowed peo­ple to hide be­hind fake names and im­ages to spout some of the worst hate and prej­u­dice around.

We be­lieve ev­ery­one has a right to know who makes com­ments about them, and, as a re­sult, we pur­posely try to limit com­ments on­line or in the pa­per that seek to im­pugn some­one or their rep­u­ta­tion with­out facts and with­out that per­son hav­ing the right to know who is hurl­ing the in­sults, or the praises.

On our ed­i­to­rial pages, we try to run a bal­anced opin­ion page; most of the folks who ap­pear on that page are con­ser­va­tive in their opin­ions, while some are more lib­eral.

Re­cently, we have be­gun run­ning a very lib­eral syn­di­cated colum­nist named Eu­gene Robin­son, a Pulitzer Prize-win­ning writer for The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Quite frankly, some of Mr. Robin­son’s opin­ions dis­cour­age us, but we re­spect the fact that his opin­ion does dif­fer from ours and that a well-read voter can read his col­umn and take from it what­ever they deem ben­e­fi­cial.

Do you and I have a right to dis­agree with Robin­son? Ab­so­lutely. This coun­try was built on dis­course. Do you have right to in­sult him per­son­ally? In some cases, tech­ni­cally yes, in oth­ers no, but who does that help and why is it nec­es­sary?

The most ef­fec­tive at­tack is a fact-based opin­ion pre­sented in a ra­tio­nal, well-or­ga­nized man­ner.

Over the next two months lead­ing up to our joint po­lit­i­cal forum with the cham­ber — to be held on Oct. 7 — we are invit­ing all can­di­dates fac­ing op­po­si­tion to come into The News for an in­for­mal in­ter­view and dis­cus­sion. We may also ask them some ques­tions on the record. In that case, we en­cour­age you to read their opin­ions and add yours to the dis­cus­sion if you wish.

If you dis­agree, we will be glad to run your thoughts, but we will not af­ford the right to in­sult them.

If you would like to use the pa­per to ex­press your thoughts, you can email your com­ments to news@ cov­news.com, post on our web­site or Face­book wall or mail them to us at 1166 Usher St. NW, Cov­ing­ton. You can al­ways call our pub­lisher, gen­eral man­ager or ed­i­tor and speak to some­one in­stead.

We only ask that you have the courage and for­ti­tude to sign your name to your opin­ion.

An in­formed elec­torate en­sures that we will have qual­i­fied elected of­fi­cials.

It is the duty of free men and women in a free coun­try to make ev­ery vote count for the can­di­dates who will lead us and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions through the many changes, hard­ships and bless­ings that lie ahead.

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