Presidential election years are always contentious as the leadership of our rich, powerful country is at stake, but this year, it seems there is more intolerance for political discourse than we've ever seen before.
In reality, that's probably not true; intolerance for people's thoughts and beliefs has, sadly, always been a part of what makes human beings human beings. Our intolerance has caused wars and widespread human misery, leading to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, mostly innocent, over the centuries.
What makes this intolerance more noticeable today is the advent of social media, which has allowed people to instantaneously express their opinion, sometimes long before they've had time to think that opinion over and put some reason behind it.
Social media and websites have allowed people to hide behind fake names and images to spout some of the worst hate and prejudice around.
We believe everyone has a right to know who makes comments about them, and, as a result, we purposely try to limit comments online or in the paper that seek to impugn someone or their reputation without facts and without that person having the right to know who is hurling the insults, or the praises.
On our editorial pages, we try to run a balanced opinion page; most of the folks who appear on that page are conservative in their opinions, while some are more liberal.
Recently, we have begun running a very liberal syndicated columnist named Eugene Robinson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The Washington Post.
Quite frankly, some of Mr. Robinson's opinions discourage us, but we respect the fact that his opinion does differ from ours and that a well-read voter can read his column and take from it whatever they deem beneficial.
Do you and I have a right to disagree with Robinson? Absolutely. This country was built on discourse. Do you have right to insult him personally? In some cases, technically yes, in others no, but who does that help and why is it necessary?
The most effective attack is a fact-based opinion presented in a rational, well-organized manner.
Over the next two months leading up to our joint political forum with the chamber - to be held on Oct. 17 - we are inviting all candidates facing opposition to come into The News for an informal interview and discussion. We may also ask them some questions on the record. In that case, we encourage you to read their opinions and add yours to the discussion if you wish.
If you disagree, we will be glad to run your thoughts, but we will not afford the right to insult them.
If you would like to use the paper to express your thoughts, you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, post on our website or Facebook wall or mail them to us at 1166 Usher St. NW, Covington. You can always call our publisher, general manager or editor and speak to someone instead.
We only ask that you have the courage and fortitude to sign your name to your opinion.
An informed electorate ensures that we will have qualified elected officials.
It is the duty of free men and women in a free country to make every vote count for the candidates who will lead us and future generations through the many changes, hardships and blessings that lie ahead.