Dear Editor:

I got on Facebook the other day; something not my intent, but it happened anyway. Curiosity overcame caution. I tried to post a comment on what another had composed for the edification of all mankind. It was a political thing.

Not quite. It was a rant, devoid of anything approaching contemplation. We live in a society in which civility is rapidly becoming a precious commodity.

There is an enemy out there, hanging neither left nor right, but right in front of us. Pogo, the cartoon character said it best: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

We broach no disagreement; are quick to shout down what does not accord with our opinion. We have being angry a fine art, honed to the perfection that comes with certainty.

Most of us are aware of the famous declaration made by the French writer Voltaire. The man was a thorn in the side of just about everybody, but most particularly the establishment. Voltaire liked to argue; he basked in freedom.

Voltaire gets a lot of play for one thing he said: “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” I like the idea of defending what someone says that I do not agree with. It sure beats agreeing with what someone says that I agree with.

I avoid the cable news channels. When they are not attacking each other, they are fighting amongst themselves like a pack of wolves snarling and slashing over fallen prey. I avoid talk radio. Professional football brings me no joy; we tear ourselves apart over the Pledge of Allegiance.

We all have our opinions, but when did opinions become hard and mean and irrefutable? Our country’s greatest asset is freedom of speech. It makes us who we are. That is the whole point of American democracy.

America was a light to the world when our forefathers stood up and said: no more kings; no more tyranny; all men are equal (we are still working on that); no man is above another. And, we really believed.

We should remember that; take pride in what we unleashed upon the world. Why do we fight amongst ourselves? What good reason do we have not to just listen? It is not complicated.

Harry Reynolds, Mattoon

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