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Respect democracy, listen to others

First, I want to express deep thanks to the Herald for printing Mr. Podlesnik's letter (Dec. 31). He, as well as many others, holds different opinions than the majority, but needs to be heard if we are to keep our democracy.

To react with terms like “spewed” and “anti-vax zealot” convey heavy negativity and lack “respect” and “responsibility,” not just for the persons they are aimed at, but at our American ideals of equality, justice and democracy, freedom of thought, of speech, of the press. To my knowledge, none of these rights are abridged by “unless they disagree with me.” Let’s get serious, not fearful, keeping our eye on the prize (which we are in danger of losing): freedom (for everyone!)!

Secondly, I want to express deep gratitude for Dick White’s op-ed on “Patriotism,” (Jan. 7), which is a great reminder of what we all have to lose if we do not listen to and respect one another’s “different facts.” What I distrust most at any time are those who think that they have “the truth,” who will scold or censor or try to shame a newspaper, or those holding opposing views, for exercising their god-given rights, which is upholding the values we have held dear!

What I want to speak out for is more, not less, opinions, respecting the rights of all of our citizens, not with some deciding they have the right to mandate others’ behavior, control over their own/children’s bodies – or their right to be heard.

Ingrid Iversen

Durango