10/29/08 — Debate matters: Protect diverse voices, multiple opinions

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Debate matters: Protect diverse voices, multiple opinions

If this election season has proven one point, it would be how important it is to have many voices, multiple opinions and the possibility of expressing them.

One of the concerns that has been circulating recently is that Democrats -- angry at the popularity of conservative talk radio and disappointed by the dismal failure of their own attempts at liberal-directed discourse -- have targeted a "fairness" speech limitation.

The idea is that liberal viewpoints should be given equal time to the conservative discourse on the airwaves. That means limits, more rules and more interference in the free debate that makes this country so special.

And the mere suggestion of that idea should send every American running to his or her computer to e-mail a letter to his or her legislator.

No matter what happens on Election Day, we should be proud to live in a country where such discussion is possible and where a vote is not predetermined by the party in charge. We should be as proud to have our say and to cast our ballots as the Iraqis were when they proudly showed their ink-stained thumbprints on their first election day.

And we should protect our rights -- all our rights -- like a mother tiger protecting her kitten. Once one right slips, others are soon to follow. There are too many generations of too many heroes who fought to make sure that would never happen. It is our job to protect that legacy.

There is no politician who really has the inside track on how Americans should think or feel. Although they can forget sometimes, they do work for us -- not the other way around. It is high time we started to be a little more vocal about what we want and don't want to see.

And that means reminding all those who serve that we are going to hold them accountable for the decisions they make and the promises they have made -- out loud, any time we want.

Published in Editorials on October 29, 2008 10:44 AM