Letter to the Editor: Conversations With Charity and Civility

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Dave Wheelan, founder and publisher of The Talbot and Chestertown Spy was criticized this week on social media for publishing a piece by David Montgomery, the contents of which offended many people, including us. Rather than respond to Montgomery directly through The Spy’s comments section, some contributors vilified Dave Wheelan publicly. We find such action highly questionable. Challenging Montgomery is reasonable, in fact appropriate, but castigating the publisher of a sound publication which provides a forum for news and opinions is misguided. Social media provides a welcome opportunity for all of us to express our opinions protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but it is not a substitute for good journalism. We support The Spy publications, the founder and publisher and the exercise of rights to free speech.

Charity and civility go hand in hand. In today’s caustic and fractionated environment when words are weaponized through all forms of media, it’s particularly important for us to be mindful and gracious. In the face of opinions we oppose and even find offensive or hurtful, we can still be charitable. We can also choose not to engage, but if we choose discourse over silence, let us be respectful and civil with a tone that engenders positive feelings, not one driven by fear and antagonism.

Richard Marks and Amy Haines

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Letters to Editor

  1. Matthew Daley says

    Mr. Marks and Ms, Haines: Well said!

  2. Gren Whitman says

    David Montgomery’s uninformed and over-the-top screeds are not “good journalism”; they’re also not even journalism.
    It’s beyond me — and others — why Dave Wheelan continues to publish Montgomery’s outputtings.

  3. steven hamblin says

    Bravo Richard and Amy.

    Many of Mr. Montgomery’s articles made my blood boil but I sure didn’t take it out on the editor. That’s not how a free press works.

  4. Margaret Atterbury says

    100% AGREE ….With Richard MArks and Amy Haines letter. We MUST maintain civil discourse even (especially) when we disagree.
    Margaret Atterbury

  5. Jane E. Hukill says

    Thank you so very much for the even treatment of the Spy – we must keep aware of all view points – it will be the salvation of our great country.

    • I agree, Jane! I think it’s fun and interesting to read what the kooks on the other side think…no matter which side you happen to be on. (and I’m not calling anyone in particular a kook).
      I didn’t get to read what Mr. Montgomery wrote because it was removed from the SPY before I had the chance. So, I’m left to imagine and wonder how horrible it must have been.
      I realize that some art and literature are not appropriate for all audiences, but we’re all adults and censorship is ultimately a scary thing.
      And I certainly agree with Richard and Amy.

  6. Patty Heaps says

    “In the face of opinions we oppose and even find offensive or hurtful, we can still be charitable.” Not very charitable towards Mr. Montgomery. His article apparently hurt so many feelings the editor thought it had to be removed. Not very charitable towards those who spoke out against a “Pride” celebration in town -shut them down with charges of homophobia and transphobia . It would appear that free speech on this site means agreeing with the editor and his merry band of followers. Hurt someone’s feelings? Gone! Mr. Wheelan shouldn’t be criticized for publishing the article – he should be criticized for removing it.

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