HomeOpinionEDITORIAL: Please keep disagreements civil in public discussions

EDITORIAL: Please keep disagreements civil in public discussions

While there hasn’t been any explosive situations in Jackson and Madison County this week during public political and governmental events, we have had a couple that have stirred up public debate about issues within the local area.

On Saturday, Ray Condray announced his candidacy for Mayor of Jackson in an event at City Hall that had a few dozen supporters there to cheer him on and about a dozen protesters who oppose his beliefs and platform.

Then on Monday night, groups of citizens were present at the Jackson-Madison County School Board work session in the district’s Central Office to let the board know their views on the possibility of a charter school coming to Madison County.

Some were for charter schools. Others weren’t.

There were discussions from people with opposing opinions at both events.

While some of those discussions became tense, none of them became volatile.

Some people appeared uninterested in listening to the other side’s perspective on the disagreement of the hour, but for the most part, actual conversations were had.

As people walked into the central office between opposing lines of citizens with supporters of charter schools on the left and opposers on the right, they got to hear a few seconds of discussion between the groups about why they feel the way they do and why they feel they’re right.

After Condray finished his campaign announcement and answered questions from local media, he entertained a few questions and comments from protesters who obviously had no plans as of Feb. 4 of voting for him.

They made their comments. He answered. There were maybe a couple more rounds of responses and rebuttals and then an unspoken agreement to disagree.

And neither of these discussions ended Saturday morning or Monday night. Any conversation Condray has publicly has the possibility of being met by disagreeing protesters, and it’ll probably be that way all the way up until Election Day in May. And if there’s a runoff and he’s one of the qualifiers, it’ll probably happen for six more weeks.

The charter school issue isn’t going away anytime soon. American Classical Education wants to bring a charter school to Madison County. They’ve got the blessing of Gov. Bill Lee to do so, and there’s no reason they wouldn’t cash in on that blessing to continue to try to bring it as long as they want to.

And anytime they try to make a move toward that end, the opposers will probably be present to oppose.

That’s the great thing about the First Amendment. We all have our views and beliefs. And even if there’s no factual or moral basis for those beliefs, the United States Constitution says we’re allowed to have those beliefs.

So this is a time to really step back and watch the First Amendment at work.

For anyone who falls on one side or the other on either of these issues, have your say. Speak your peace.

But please, continue to do so in a civil manner that doesn’t result in unruly behavior or even violence. That’s one story we don’t want to report.

The Jackson Post’s opinion/editorial page is meant to help launch public discussion of local issues or allow local people to discuss national or statewide issues. To join the discussion, send a guest column or letter to the editor to brandon@jacksonpost.news. Submissions for a specific week’s print edition need to be sent by Monday night. Sending does not guarantee publication that week as that is based on space availability.

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