Why not disagree civilly? | TheUnion.com

Why not disagree civilly?

The Nevada City Planning Commission continues to receive criticism for the way in which it does its job.

Occasional public expression of dissatisfaction with commission decisions by some in the community has continually occurred over the last 35 years, and I have personally observed. Very recently, even the City Council and our new mayor, after presiding over only one meeting, have been assailed by an outraged citizen.

While some may disagree with what’s been said, it is, in fact, local democracy and the First Amendment in action.

Having said that, I would respectfully suggest that the quality of that “action” falls far short of what our founders had in mind. My primary concern has nothing to do with where any individual stands on any particular issue.

Not at all. It has everything to do with the increasingly prevalent lack of respectful disagreement by citizens toward each other in the public forum.

The First Amendment, with its constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression, is unique. Most human beings in our world don’t have the privilege of saying whatever they want to whenever they want to. So perhaps, when we choose to publicly speak out on community issues, why not do so with a sincere, enduring respect for both the First Amendment and our fellow citizens? Until that is a daily reality, neither our local democracy nor its participants will be shown the regard they truly deserve.

J. Lon Cooper

Nevada City

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