The best speech is free |

The best speech is free

There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and inciting violent protest. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re all in on the former and not such a fan of the latter.

Now that doesn’t mean that The Record-Courier will publish whatever walks in the door, but for the last 16 years, the default position of the newspaper has been to publish an opinion.

Speech and the press are two First Amendment freedoms that allow us to ply our trade. We’re a private business, so we’re not under any obligation to use our First Amendment freedoms to subsidize someone else’s.

Off to starboard, you’ll see letters that run the gamut of the political spectrum and we think that’s fantastic.

Because if you’re actually supporting a free and open forum, that’s not about picking and choosing the topic of the speech. Instead our goal is to achieve some level of civility in the letters.

That doesn’t always work as well as we’d like, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. There are letters that reflect information that’s already in the public record, and there’s not much point in keeping that gate if the rest of the fence is down.

We’ve heard for years about how certain voices dominate the letters to the editor page, and that’s a fair statement. But why would we discourage people from writing letters to the editor? 

Participation is critical to the success The Record-Courier has enjoyed over the past 140 years, and our pages have always been open to our readers. 

Because while we’re busy keeping The R-C afloat, it’s our readers who help propel it forward. 

A letter to the editor is just one way people can participate in this glorious experiment called self-rule. And providing a free and open forum for those letters is a way for The R-C to give back to its community and participate in that experiment.