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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Respect opinions of others
I am not writing this letter in response to any one article or issue. I am writing on the subject of “respect.”
Who am I? I’m a sometime-Democrat, sometime-Republican, always-independent resident of Whidbey.
People have disagreed with my voiced opinions, and I’ve disagreed with theirs. But there is one common thread to those disagreements, and that is respect; respect for the person we disagree with.
It is our duty to respect those we disagree with.
Yes; I said “duty.” Too many people today assume that “democracy” means that they can think, say, and do what they please. I disagree. Democracy means more than just having the right to choose what we believe in and what we support. Being a part of a democracy obligates us to respect the opinions of others — even those opinions we may vehemently disagree with.
Name calling, personal threats, and the utter dismissal of someone else’s opinions isn’t just a matter of rudeness; it attacks the core concepts of democracy. If we insult someone because we disagree with them, we insult democracy itself. If we refuse to listen to someone who has a differing opinion, we are becoming deaf to the needs of a democracy. And God forbid that we should want to prevent someone from voicing their opinions in the first place — as that is when democracy dies and the likes of fascism takes hold.
Our ancestors fought for ourselves and for the world at large to preserve this wonderful and yet fragile concept that is democracy. And I write this letter today because recent articles and letters to and from this paper show a lack of respect for each other that I find not funny but frightening.
Democracy without respect is no democracy at all. And so I appeal to all the readers of and writers to this paper to be respectful of each other.
If for no other reason, we owe that much to the men and women who made and continue to make our own democracy possible.