I thoroughly delight in providing a space in the newspaper to publish Letters to the Editor, honoring a feature American newspapers have offered since the early days of our democracy.
I’ve written before that a community newspaper requires community. As the publisher of this newspaper, I count myself fortunate that the True Dakotan is considered an integral part of our tight-knit Jerauld County community and can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to provide a forum for readers to publish their views, comment on a recent article and respond to the issues of the day.
It is here in the pages of your local newspaper that this moment in time is preserved as a piece of history, documenting the lives of Jerauld County folks for future generations.
In addition to book-binding an archive of each week’s newspaper in-house, we also provide archives for our local Carnegie Library, as well as the South Dakota State Archives. News, feature stories and even Letters to the Editor will help tell the story of who we are in the present moment to those generations for decades into the future.
I consider the Letter to the Editor section a privilege that aligns with our cherished freedom of expression liberties: freedom of speech, the press, association, assembly, and petition. This set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment is the foundation of a vibrant democracy, and without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither away.
With privilege, however, comes responsibility. A responsibility to share opinions thoughtfully, to disagree without being disagreeable, to ask the question, “Is this solely self-serving? How will what I’m writing affect others?”
While it can be difficult to articulate a disagreement with empathy and kindness, it is possible, as can be seen by countless examples that have graced the pages of the Letterbox.
This section is one of the most widely read in the newspaper — what is written here has thousands of eyes on it — and tends to stick with our readers well into the future.
I encourage True Dakotan readers to keep the letters coming. Thank you in advance for your willingness to share in a contemplative and neighborly way, no matter how heated the disagreement.
Perhaps we can take one step closer to getting along through disagreeing from a place of love. Wouldn’t it be something if locally, we could serve as an example for our state and nation as a whole — a guiding example as future generations look back on how folks in Jerauld County persevered during this pivotal time in history?
Always grateful for your readership,