Feel free to disagree, or maybe even to agree

A few months ago, I wrote a column about some reactions we received to our political cartoons. Some of those reactions I considered to be extreme—most of which fell along the lines of liking or disliking Donald Trump. Now, with further reflection, I can see that the column I wrote may have also been a little more extreme than I intended.

We have not received many letters to the editor in a while. I doubt that is because nobody has an opinion. No, I bet there are plenty of opinions said around morning coffee. I bet there are more than a few written up on social media, where if you choose your friends wisely, you can preach to the choir with the loudest voice possible.

But not many local opinions are making it into the newspaper, which has a more diverse readership than coffee and computers. It takes some time to get a letter in to the editor, and it also requires that you stick your neck out. As we all know, those who stick their necks out welcome others to chop it off.

I was chopping off a few necks with my last column. I bet there were a few of you who thought, “Geez, we can’t even disagree with the dang cartoons any more!” For the record, I think it is okay to disagree with a political cartoon. I have disagreed with some of the cartoons we have run in the past. It is also okay to voice your disapproval without canceling your newspaper subscription. A letter to the editor might be a good way to do that.

There are a few recent items of local concern that may have rumpled a few tail feathers. But either we are too invested in national politics or too okay with the status quo to let our opinions be heard on these pages. Since we live in a time when those who disagree with us might just cut off our friendship over it, it’s not hard to see why.

But if we can’t respectfully disagree, then where are we? We can, as the old saying goes, agree to disagree. And we can still be friends when it is all over, too. I really think that is possible, despite how much hate different sides of issues sometimes spew at each other.

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