Difficult to stay out of the national fray
Our advice: Take a breath, do what you can, remain civil and respect others’ viewpoints
Our philosophy at Feather Publishing and The Lassen County Times is to print the news Lassen County residents can’t find anywhere else. In other words, our focus here is hyper local — what’s the board of supervisors up to; who won the high school or college basketball game; what’s up with the Susanville City Council — so largely we have stayed out of the national fray.
But we are news junkies; that’s why we are in the profession, and it’s dizzying to absorb the coverage — some of it seemingly accurate and other reports obviously not — that is televised, Facebooked, tweeted, broadcasted and printed. It can become overwhelming.
It’s sad that the public knows which networks and other media sources are liberal and which are conservative. As journalists, we are trained to remain objective and even though we all have our personal opinions those are not to be reflected in what we write or say. When people gravitate to only the news feeds that reflect their own opinions, they continue to have those pointed views driven home day after day after day. As someone here noted, it’s like living in an echo chamber, where there is no room for new viewpoints to even be considered.
As one might expect, this newspaper’s staff is just about as divided as the country when it comes to national politics. There are discussions among coworkers, but they remain civil. We listen to each other’s points of views and respect the person who is sharing them, and we wish that tolerance for differing ideas could be more universal and extend throughout and beyond the borders of Lassen County.
Consider our differences. Increasingly, for example, there are voices calling for California to separate from the rest of the union. There are those in Canada inviting California, Oregon and Washington residents to join their nation, and oh, “Hawaii can come too.”
The comedian and political pundit Dennis Miller recently joked about a West Coast-East Coast nation connected by an Elon Musk tunnel, though he’d have to leave his beloved Santa Barbara. Some of these suggestions provide a light-hearted moment just when we all could use a laugh, but they do point to the deep divide that exists between American citizens in our country.
The differences are real and can become polarizing. If we are to succeed, our leaders and we citizens have to find some common ground when possible and not just object to every opinion and suggestion that comes from the other side. We know how difficult that can be when someone is advocating for the very thing we oppose the most, but we can’t move forward unless we find a way to meet somewhere in the middle.
Our readers can see the differing and opposing opinions contained in our letters to the editor. Whether one agrees with them or not, the manner in which they choose to share their views should be respected. As the days continue, we all need to pause and take a deep breath or two. We all must strive to do what we can to enact the change that we want to see, but let’s strive to remain civil and respectful and look for common ground.
3 thoughts on “Difficult to stay out of the national fray”
Common ground is hard to find when you are allowed only heaven or hell as a choice. Unless, of course, you reject both, and stand on your own. Trespasser be thy name.
Every century, as does every decade, goes down in history for something. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. I think our present decade (2010-2019) will be recorded in history as “the decade that marked the end of civility”. As the above editorial points out, we no longer respect each others opinions. Instead, we shut out what others have to say, we dislike them as a person because we disagree with them, we wish them harm for the beliefs they hold. The concept of “a gentleman’s disagreement” no longer exists. And I think it is only going to get worse. Worse because we are living in a time when we no longer view people that we disagree with as “wrong” but rather as “evil”. And once you begin to view someone as evil, hate becomes easier and is not far behind.
I appreciate your call for civility, kindness, and respect. I only wish your most frequent writer would stop, reflect and come to terms with her anger, sarcasm, pigeon-holing and profiling of those people that don’t necessarily subscribe to her point of view. If she did, she would see that she epitomizes who she rails against in her tone, belligerent attitude and intent. There can be no dialog or common ground or understanding with a person who seems to relish slamming and condemning at least half of the American population then concluding it is them that “hate” her. I suppose I should feel compassion for her: she is the most angry, paranoid, and tragic individual I have ever encountered in this community. I do applaud and support your efforts to encourage people to focus on what we have in common in terms of goals and work from there. Understanding, without prejudice, other points of view is the only way to fix what is broken. United we stand; divided we fall is where we are at.
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