Speak up and be heard

The Covington News - - OPINION -

It has been writ­ten in this space be­fore that jour­nal­ism does not tell peo­ple what to think, but what to think about. In March, we asked you to think about the im­por­tance of SPLOST in New­ton County. Now, it’s time to ask you to con­sider the im­por­tance of civil dis­course in try­ing to make our com­mu­nity bet­ter.

Over the last few months, there has been a coars­en­ing in the lan­guage used by some who dis­agree with the county’s lead­ers. Many peo­ple who com­ment on The Cov­ing­ton News’ on­line sto­ries via so­cial me­dia ex­press why they dis­agree with a pol­icy de­ci­sion as is their right. But they also at­tack the in­tegrity of the lead­ers making those de­ci­sions, of­ten ac­cus­ing them of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

This should stop. There was a time when pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion about politics and politi­cians in­volved good peo­ple dis­cussing ideas and ideals for making their com­mu­ni­ties bet­ter. Those con­ver­sa­tions have lately taken a back­seat to those who, se­cure be­hind their com­puter screens, seem con­tent to at­tack those ac­tu­ally try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence for all of us.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Theodore Roo­sevelt ad­dressed this phe­nom­e­non in a speech at the Sor­bonne in Paris, France in 1910. In the speech, en­ti­tled “Cit­i­zen­ship in a Republic,” Roo­sevelt dis­cussed those con­tent to sit on the out­side and snipe at those try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence.

“It is not the critic who counts,” he said, “not the man who points out how the strong man stum­bles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them bet­ter. The credit be­longs to the man ac­tu­ally in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood: who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, be­cause there is no ef­fort with­out er­ror and short­com­ing; but who does ac­tu­ally strive to do the deeds; who knows great en­thu­si­asms, the great de­vo­tions; who spends him­self in a wor­thy cause; who best knows in the end the tri­umph of high achieve­ment, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while dar­ing greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who never know vic­tory nor de­feat.”

If you have ideas that will make our com­mu­nity bet­ter, get in­volved, at­tend meet­ings, speak up dur­ing pub­lic com­ment, run for of­fice, do some­thing con­struc­tive. In the mean­time, let’s dis­cuss ideas, not per­son­al­i­ties. We all should want the same thing, a bet­ter New­ton County. And while good peo­ple can agree to dis­agree, we should never let it get per­sonal. We, as a com­mu­nity, de­serve bet­ter than that.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.