The Newnan Times-Herald


American democracy requires reasoned debate

  • By Clay Neely
  • |
  • Mar. 14, 2019 - 7:44 AM

I want thank Jack Bernard for writing his two letters recently, in particular the one on Certificate of Need.

His letters were well written, well thought out, and were perfect examples of how one should write an opinion piece, which is, by definition, what an editorial is. His rational argument was supported with historical examples and examples derived from his professional and personal experience. I especially appreciated the one on CON because it is a subject about which I am completely ignorant.

Bernard’s editorial brought to mind several questions that all Georgians should research as we decide whether or not to support Sen. Brass’s efforts. What problem was CON meant to solve? Why was the regulation put in place? Why would we have a system that would bar CTCA from seeing local patients? What is the connection between the repeal of CON and the rise of nursing homes? Why is Sen. Brass pushing this bill so hard? Is it because he has true compassion for the little people this may help, or is he just doing this because he was paid to by lobbyists?

Any editorial that brings up so many questions for me to jump off from as I begin my own independent research – the first essential job of any citizen- as opposed to a subject – is a great editorial. Thank you.

What I find deeply troubling is that there has been no rational response. All I have seen is bullying and vitriol dripping from the pens of fellow Cowetans. I’ve seen calls for our community members to sit down and shut up. The whole point of these put downs is to discourage any thoughtful person from ever contributing to our democracy in one of the most basic ways – through well thought out letters to our editor.

Personally, this has nothing to do with Mr. Bernard’s feelings. I don’t know Mr. Bernard, and I assume, since he is an adult, that he has thick skin. This about the break-down of rational debate and civility and its tarnishing effects on our community and our democracy. I think more about the intelligent college or high school student who may want to write an op-ed and sees how Mr. Bernard was treated and decides to keep it to themselves. Another point of light dimmed into silence.

In the end, we all have a hand in choosing the course of our community’s and our nation’s future. Do we want community or conflict? I know that for me and my children, I want community. That means being able to hear differing opinions without resorting to anger.

Cole McSpadden