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Looking for a Fight

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By Bill Koch

Personality may never change, but proclivity and perspective certainly do. And from those ever-evolving human attributes come opinion.

Everyone has one, an opinion. And a few of the less creative among us may revel in repeating the cliché that “everyone has one” (and its endless variants). It’s a convenient way of devaluing others by expressing opinions about people who express opinions. And on and on we go.

Nonetheless, we all do really have opinions; that’s something that doesn’t need much persuasion. And we’re all entitled to express our opinions, whether anyone listens or not is another matter.

Despite what the superior ones say about everyone having an opinion (as they chuckle knowingly), some opinions are right and some are wrong. Some are true and some are false.

Now, before the superior ones jump quickly into this discussion with their chuckling and their superiority, I am not suggesting that I am the arbitrator of truth and falsity. Nope, not at all. However, if you talk to me privately, I might tell you otherwise.

My point lay firmly and resolutely on these pages. You, dear readers and superior ones, are presented with the opportunity and a platform on which to express your opinions, for what they’re worth.

Go ahead. Send us your letters. Tell the world how you see it. It may actually do us good.

However, I must lay a few ground rules. Civility and the tenets of polite society must reign supreme.

You may passionately and zealously express your opinions here. You may even doggedly and viciously attack the viewpoints of your opponents. However, you may not deliver low blows. You may not make it personal.

Here are a few examples.

“My opponent Joe is a smelly moron with an IQ of 42. Joe supports or hates Trump because Joe is stupid, sweaty, addicted to opioids and dresses funny.” Sorry. You can’t do that. Not here.

“My opponent Joe’s point about Trump is absolutely moronic.” OK. You can do that. But you’ll also have to explain why you believe Joe’s point about the president is one only a moron could make. You can’t just level a charge without explaining why you believe it.

We here in the newspaper business are essentially providing a venue – or an ideological repository – for brawls. Granted, they are organized, controlled and must adhere to basic rules of proper conduct.

Nevertheless, we are merely referees in an intellectual boxing ring, sending out periodic invitations to combatants to participate in our war games.

You may be the first to deliver the initial salvo in an exchange that politicians and those with over-sized egos like to call a “discussion” of ideas. After all, aren’t all problems solved through “discussion”?

Anybody up for challenging that idea?