Opinion page: Letter warring uncivilized
July 3, 2008 · Updated 10:22 PM
As I went walking along City Beach trail today, a friend and I discussed the ongoing pattern of personal attacks in the Letters To The Editor section of the Whidbey News-Times. Does controversy and polarization sell papers? Having a robust diversity of opinions on issues in our Letters to the Editor certainly livens things up and, ideally, inspires us to see a situation from different points of view, even if we end up settling comfortably back into our original opinions at the end of the day.
As adults we can express strong opinions without needing to put anybody down. Personally, I would rather read letters to the editor that thoughtfully and even provocatively address current issues, by citing pertinent facts and heartfelt values and emotions without resorting to attacks on individuals or groups. Having spirited and lively discourse from persons having all different views on an issue is democracy in action. Letters involving personal attacks are alienating and create a cycle of more letters that are either defensive or retaliatory. Lets get out of this rut! This is taking up way too much space in our newspaper! Also, we need more room for letters and articles on people that are actively working together to benefit our community and humanity. And if there must be personal attacks, lets hold gladiator events in the proposed public amphitheater, sell tickets and advertise, Fresh Meat. Surely that will attract tourists-dollars!