Open Line could adjust its prior format

To the editor:

I miss the old Open Line! The feel good thank you’s are fine and I’m glad they were always a part of the column, but I miss the give and take. I read it partly for the humor of the often nonsensical comments but I also needed it to keep me reminded that we are indeed a diverse community who often disagrees. I hope you will decide to bring it back.

Having said that, I must agree that it had gotten out of hand and were it to return it would have to have some restrictions. So, I’m writing to suggest some needed restrictions. I would beg callers as well as the editorial staff to curb such comments in some of the following ways:

1. Consider that both sides on an issue sincerely care about their fellow citizens. Because someone disagrees with me does not mean he has not thoughtfully, maybe even prayerfully, come to his conclusion. We need to respect the sincerity and integrity of a caller even if we don’t understand how he could possibly reach such a conclusion. Name calling, self-righteous indignation and venom detract from the messages.

2. The Sentinel has indicated that they hear the same voices repeatedly. Consider whether of not the world really has to know your individual opinion on each and every issue that arises.

3. Limit the number of calls printed on any one issue, while attempting to balance the number on each side. For example, allow only three comments for and three comments against any issue.

4. Frequently multiple calls were included with nearly identical wording. If you have discussed this issue at your morning breakfast club, choose one person to call in the sentiment for all of you or accept that you’ve already been heard by a group of friends and you may not need to take it any further.

5. Accept that the two major political parties will never agree on much of anything and stop and notice that everyone blames the bad on the others while taking the good for oneself. It’s rather incredible how we can say identical things about each other and be totally blind to our own inconsistencies. Considering that both parties, if they were willing to work together, might accomplish something, is there much point to placing blame or taking credit?

6. Think about what others have written. Surprisingly, I sometimes find that opposing viewpoints have some validity or at least lift up a point I’d never considered. At least they make me think whether or not I have sound reasoning behind my own viewpoints.

Meanwhile, consider writing a letter to the editor and signing your name if you feel strongly about an issue. The editors have not censored our right to express ourselves on controversial issues. They have just said we may not do it anonymously. Perhaps if they got dozens of signed letters requesting the return of the give and take style of Open Line, we might return to a column that exemplifies our diversity and helps us to hear each other in a laid back non-threatening format. Or perhaps more of you will send signed letters with an opposite viewpoint from mine, opposing bringing it back. I’m “open” to suggestions that I’m wrong as long as you don’t question my sincerity and integrity.

Rosalita J. Leonard