Letters to the Editor: November 21 – 27, 2019
F.C. Should Tolerate Those With Differing Views
Kudos to all those who ran for office on our City Council and School Board. I have nothing but admiration for those willing to expose themselves to great scrutiny for the sake of good governance. One candidate, however, experienced an astonishing amount of unfavorable and unrelenting press because he dared to hold a perspective on a challenging social issue counter to the prevailing view. Although nothing in Douglass Stevens’ literature, comments, or actions indicated he would ever treat anyone in our school system with less than the utmost respect, compassion, and care, he nevertheless was scolded and smeared for merely expressing his stance.
Unlike some of his detractors who have heaved all manner of disdain his way, Mr. Stevens was and remains kind, civil and engaging toward people who hold divergent views. I believe he would have made an excellent addition to our School Board. In spite of the efforts of Mr. Benton and others to paint him in an outrageously negative way, 1,472 of us chose to disagree with those mischaracterizations and voted to give Mr. Stevens the opportunity to serve this city. What does that make us? A bunch of intolerant bigots? Disagreement does not equal oppression. Disagreement does not equal discrimination.
If we are really an inclusive and diverse community, as we claim to be, then we include diversity of thought and opinion. If we really are a community that rejects bullying, as we claim to be, then we reject bullying in all its forms, including spoken and written word. If we really are a tolerant community, as we claim to be, then we tolerate others strongly held convictions that differ from our own.
What do we really want for the citizens of our Little City? To nurture an environment in which each individual is free to express and debate his sincerely held beliefs or perpetuate an uninviting, unhealthy, exclusive echo chamber?
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