We can disagree without tearing each other down

Published 12:54 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

By Staff
I read with interest all of the postings to our very active Reader Forum on our website. Increasingly, the level of unnecessary nastiness is sickening.
I work hard not to edit or reject readers' submissions to our website, though I do so in a heartbeat if a posting contains libelous or dangerous words. Unfortunately, they often do.
I haven't rejected them for shear nastiness, but I've been tempted and it very well may come to that. It brings to mind those famous words of L.A.'s Rodney King, “Why can't we all just get along.”
Of course, that's not going to happen. It would be a pretty boring world if we did. However, we can disagree with others and voice our own opinions without using hateful and damaging language to do so. It's not necessary to tear people down just because we disagree with them or because they are simply different. Others are entitled to their opinion. Enlightened disagreement and discussion is a good thing. But the minute you turn that discussion into a personal attack, people stop listening. To me, if you launch a personal attack on someone, that simply means you can't support your own opinion with facts.
It would be against everything I stand for to limit discussion on any topic on our website. But it's discouraging to see just how mean and hateful some of the postings get.
There's a better way.
Have you driven by the construction site of the new Niles-Buchanan YMCA lately? I hadn't until Tuesday evening and was amazed by the progress. It's really taking shape quickly.
If all goes well - and it certainly looks like that's the case - plans are to open the facility sometime this fall. I can't wait. What a great asset it is going to be for our city and community.
Your contributions toward the building project are still needed in a big way. If you'd like to help out, call Bret Hendrie at the YMCA, 269-683-1552.
Remember, every little bit helps.
I never, ever expected to leave Tuesday night's annual Chamber dinner carrying an award. What a nice surprise!
When Gary Rider stepped to the podium and announced the Chamber's woman of the year “is a real Southern belle,” it got my attention. When he said she grew up in Natchez, Miss., I began scanning the room and wondered to myself, “Who else is here from Natchez?” Then, when he said where I graduated from college, I was stunned.
Thank you so much to Ron Sather and others at the chamber for a wonderful night. Talk about keeping a good secret!
More than 200 attended the annual affair, held at the Elks Club. As was the case last year, the dinner meeting sold out and even had a wait list.
And, what a great place the Elks Lodge is for such an event. That's really a tremendous facility. The food was very good and Elks Lodge staff handled the evening flawlessly. Wait staff was abundant and it was simply a comfortable, attractive place for such a large group of people. I predict we'll all be attending many more such gatherings at the Niles Elks Lodge.
Speaker for the dinner was U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who predicts we'll soon see a return to $3 a gallon gas prices. Upton is a good speaker and is always a good time. (However, if he had mentioned Lou Mumford's name one more time, I was going to have to ask him to step outside.)
I wasn't the only one surprised by an award. I think Gloria Cooper, who the Chamber honored with only its fifth Lifetime Achievement Award, was as clueless as I was, but also very pleasantly surprised.
Anyway, it was a great night in Niles and I much appreciate the kind words and recognition.
And, I'm so thankful for people I work with at Leader Publications, who love this community as much as I do and work hard every day to make our papers an asset in the lives of Southwest Michigan residents.