Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Some Op-Ed Writers Go To Extremes

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Today is Election Day. We've waited a long time. People are tired of a long, drawn-out, bitter campaign. I'm all for changing to the way the Brits elect Members of Parliament etc. They have a very limited (weeks) amount of campaign time and I believe the funds used for same are also on a limited basis. If only we could try it here. I am always disturbed by the millions of dollars spent on campaigning on both sides. Add it together, and think what good it might do in our country. 

Today seemed a good time to talk a little about Op-Ed writing--Opinion Page Editorial writing.  If you're a newspaper reader or read political articles online, you are exposed to these articles on a daily basis. Some are written by everyday citizens, but many are written by syndicated columnists who, understandably, slant their view to their political leanings. But they often go off the deep end, accusing the other side of things that may or may not be true. Or if there is some validity, they sometimes twist the truth so that it is seen from a different perspective. 

There's nothing wrong in writing about what you believe, but I would not want to rant and rave to the point that it hurts or humiliates people who don't believe as I do. And that's what I've seen a lot of during this campaign. The message that sometimes comes across is If you don't believe the same things I do, you're an idiot! Maybe they feel the only way to make their point as clearly as possible is to belittle others. As a reader, that turns me off. No one party is any worse than the other in doing this. I've seen it on both sides.

As a reader, use that 'take it with a grain of salt' approach. Don't swallow every word as if it is pure truth. Don't reject every word a writer on the opposite party of your choice writes either. There's some merit in what all these people tell us. As we read, we need to learn to sift and sort, fact check, and then decide if we agree or not.

Those who write these pieces need to back up statements with some proof, not just that they 'heard' or 'think that' one thing or another happened. I'd be delighted if they'd stop bashing the other side and tell me why I should be on their side. Show me the positives in their arguments. Dump the negatives. 

Meanwhile, I am among the many today who are urging you to go out and vote. 

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