We would like to offer an opinion that seems unpopular in some spaces these days — that unpopular opinions matter, too.
A recent issue brought close-to-home the now common effort to silence perceived non-majority opinions — in this case the Petoskey News Review’s decision to run a letter called “Don’t celebrate perversion.”
The letter-writer, also a one-time party delegate, said he didn’t agree with the LGBTQ lifestyle being celebrated.
Outrage was swift and severe. But the majority of it was directed at the paper, and the editor’s decision to publish the letter.
The space we dedicate to your letters is valuable, and we verify each letter for authorship, length, truth, and personal attacks.
Signed, local opinions are welcome — even the ones we don’t personally or our official editorial position doesn’t agree with.
These opinions aren’t fake Facebook accounts with shadowy motives — they are held by real people — your neighbors.
If you disagree with them, it’s our hope that you’ll write a letter back.
In this way we all become 1) exposed to the real views of our community and 2) provided an objective space to be heard.
Both of these values are needles in today’s digital haystack.
Algorithms reflect our own values and interests back at us — there’s very little need to mix with the “other” points of view anymore.
Or any other point of view, for that matter.
It seems ideas contrary to our personal worldview are as welcome as a dose of toxic radiation. Eventually, intolerance burns away our human connection to each other, layer by layer.
We see this in the deplatforming movement, defined here as political activism by prior restraint, aimed at depriving those who speak offensively a venue.
We understand its purpose for some — to protect us from hate speech — and see its noble intentions.
But we also know that protecting people from reality isn’t the way to go, either.
And that “protection” — like everything else — is a matter of opinion, which is a truly slippery slope.
Society’s current methodology — ganging up in social media shoutdowns, and stamping someone with oversimplified labels — isn’t doing much for tolerance or diversifying our marketplace of ideas.
All platforms — including ours — have the right to judge and choose what we publish. We take that responsibility seriously.
We’ve worked hard over the last several years to allow our opinion pages to be a place where you and your peers can safely have a civil debate. You can disagree. You can agree to disagree on any given issue and still walk away friends.
The trending inability to accept differing views is troubling to us. We see it on university campuses; we see it on social media; we see it on television; we see it in print; we see it within families. It’s time we, as a society face this issue head on.
We also believe our community is better for the variety of opinions within it, and in creating an objective space for people to air theirs their’s civilly.
We may hold our noses at some points of view, but we believe that we’re all better for knowing most of the views held by our peers no matter if the opinion is deemed unpopular.
We hope you agree.