Opinions should be allowed – A civil response should be required - Tucson Local Media: Columns

Opinions should be allowed – A civil response should be required

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Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 4:00 am

I was disappointed this week when one of our readers informed me about a negative response she received for writing a letter that was published in our newspaper. It wasn’t a response sent to our paper, but instead sent directly to her, and it wasn’t a very nice message.

The response saddened me because it is just another clear example of how we’ve gone from being a civil society to being uncivil every chance we get.

When I write my opinion in this allotted space each week I never expect every reader to agree with me. In fact, I like feedback, I like to generate discussion because that’s what leads to fixing problems and taking care of business.

What I am getting tired of is someone speaking their mind and instead of someone respectfully disagreeing and explaining why, we get uncivil responses that are just going too far.

So, not everyone agrees with you. So what. We are not all wired the same.

There’s a saying that I completely believe in, and I don’t care that it came from a movie. In “Remember the Titans,” Julius Campbell tells the team captain, “Attitude Reflects Leadership.”

The statement is true, and our leaders are no longer being civil, so why in the world would they expect the rest of society to act civilly?

General Election season isn’t even here yet, but look at where the presidential races have already gone. We have President Barack Obama, who claims to be the “I take the high road” candidate while ad after ad appears to attack his opponent. The attacks are not really on issues, they are just attacks to keep voters distracted.

Then, you have Mitt Romney and the Republican campaigns. Their ads are no better.

During a TODAY Show interview on NBC last week, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, was asked about the increasingly negative campaigns being run by both parties. Then, she was asked to say something nice about First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama.

Now, here’s the sad part, I was surprised she was capable of doing it. These campaigns have gone so far that we are forgetting that kind words are possible.

Look at Vice President Joe Biden last week. He went as far as telling African Americans that if Mitt Romney has his way they’ll be back in chains. Really? Is that even necessary?

But, that’s the problem we have. The presidential candidates and their running mates are getting ridiculous, the lower-level races are no better and the trickle effects continue until it comes down to a community newspaper where Letters to the Editor are a welcome staple, where the local residents can say what they think, feel or want. They should never worry that thanks to the digital world they are vulnerable to unwarranted attacks.

Maybe it’s time for it to be up to the citizens. Maybe it’s time for regular citizens to improve our attitudes and say to the leaders of this country that enough is enough. Civility is important, and breeding anger is useless.

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