Editorial - Lashing out at columnists misses the markEvery now and then, it’s helpful to remind people what the Echo Press Opinion page is all about.
Every now and then, it’s helpful to remind people what the Echo Press Opinion page is all about.
In a nutshell, it’s a forum for community discussion of the issues of the day. It’s a platform where people can bring their ideas and views out in the open for others to consider, offer counterpoints or sometimes, just dismiss.
Reading other people’s thoughts on pressing topics can enlighten, entertain, engage and in some cases, enrage. Along the way, some people forget about the big heading at the top of the page: Opinion. That is what they are reading – or as Webster’s defines it, “a view, judgment or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one else’s opinion is better or worse than someone else’s.
Having an opinion separate from others is one of our most precious freedoms. Imagine a nation where everyone was forced to accept the same views on every issue. Where there was no discourse, no room for arguments, no opportunity to say, “Hey, wait a minute. I think you’re wrong about this. Here’s why.”
That’s why we encourage readers to submit letters to the editor and commentaries. Expressing a personal viewpoint is an exciting, invigorating process that should be cherished and respected.
Unfortunately, instead of debating the issues at hand, some prefer to go after the individual taking a stand. It happens from time to time to Echo Press columnists, most notably Dennis Dalman. When Dalman takes on a controversial topic, such as gun control, some people, naturally, don’t like what he has to say. However, instead of presenting their own counterpoints, some people prefer to go after him. We found it ironic that a letter writer in today’s paper, for instance, took Dalman to task for name-calling and then proceeded to call Dalman a bully, and a bitter and hate-filled individual who “definitely descended from apes.”
As we’ve noted repeatedly in the past, the views of the Echo Press columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper, yet some people still direct angry attacks at us for printing their columns. That’s OK. We’re used to being a scapegoat. But we always urge anyone who disagrees with something on the Opinion page to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and let us know.
We’d also like to point out that our columnists have a right to their opinion and to express it, even if they take a forceful approach that may ruffle a few feathers. Our columnists also fully expect to take the heat from those who disagree with their views. It comes with the territory.
Some of those venting their anger, however, would get their point across much better if they concentrated more on their own ideas and less on the perceived personalities of those with whom they disagree.