Thank God for a free press

To the editor:

Opinions — everyone has them; good, bad, neutral, in-between. In fact, humans have at least six or more opinions going on simultaneously every minute of the day! That’s why there is an Opinion Page in every one of our newspapers. We all can thank our forefathers for that one, for the 1st Amendment to our Constitution, where it states: there shall be “…no infringement to freedom of speech, and… freedom of the press.”

I’m responding to an opinion letter to the SJVT dated April 5, 2017, called “God bless the Valley” by Craig Lawrence of Frenchville. He was responding to my letter “Frenchville Machinations” of the week before.

First, the only reference I made of Mr. Lawrence in particular was his opinion letter on marijuana he’d submitted back in 2016. My letter and opinion, however, was on Frenchville in general, not Mr. Lawrence. But he seems to be projecting onto himself everything I said and had an opinion on.

I am, Mr. Lawrence, tolerant of all opinions. It’s just that I happen not to agree with a lot of them. There is a big difference! Intolerance breeds dictatorships while a difference of opinion breeds disagreement and possibly betterment. I may disagree with your ideology but that doesn’t mean I want to eradicate you for it. Our 1st Amendment guarantees that. Intolerance leads to hate fear and conflict and that is what I am totally against.

On the marijuana issue I fully support Frenchville’s stance. It’s a free country, still, and if the people don’t want recreational use in their town they have every right to so reject it. That is what is great about America — the people decide (most of the time) not some autocratic ideology.

I think Mr. Lawrence misses the whole point on the town ordinance where town officials can be fired at will. I, personally, would love this to be the case with Lepage and Trump! All you would then have to do is draw up a petition, have a vote and bang out of here! But for many reasons this would never work. Our governments would be in constant chaos and turmoil (as if it’s not bad enough already), for the simple reason that it is way too easy to game the system.

It’s bad enough to let the two and four years expire before you replace; now just imagine doing this every other month. Initially you’d never get anything done until eventually you’d have an autocratic majority of either good or bad or indifferent. (Now imagine if this were the case with our Supreme Court.)

As to your “opinion” about my being offensive against people who stand for morality and decency, I say you are a bit over the top here. That implies that if one does not adhere to your opinion, then anyone who does not adhere to your religion or beliefs are somehow immoral and indecent. How can you justify such a statement?

I happen to adhere to the Christian belief that humans have a responsibility for their fellow humans, the poor and sick alike and that wealth should be distributed equally, again the main message of the four Christian gospels and Jesus.

So again, thank God for a free press where we still have newspapers where our opinions can be hashed out without each of us having to go to war over them. Our democracy and its newspapers are great institutions and blessings for our nation, especially in our times when our media is being attacked for being too liberal or conservative depending on the radical zeitgeists and ideologies of the time. We are fortunate to have every right to disagree or agree with opinions and communicate with one another in a still peaceful manner.

James P. Chasse

St. Agatha

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