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Stand up and speak out

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

I am fortunate to be able to have and use this venue to voice my concerns about the direction of our country. Each week I hear from many of you. At times, I must admit I’m a little embarrassed by the acknowledgements and the degree of praise I receive. I think readers recognize I’m writing from the heart. It’s not so much how I put the words on paper, but perhaps the passion and belief behind what I try to convey.

Like many of you, I’m concerned about the direction of our country, the attitude of our people and the things we see that are clearly not moving the nation in a positive direction. My goal here is to voice concern from a position that I hope the majority can agree needs attention. I also hope to encourage our leaders to put aside their party affiliation and hidden agendas designed to further divide the nation and stonewall needed legislation.

I don’t consider myself a radical, a revolutionary or someone who sees a conspiracy behind every tree. There are simply subjects that I don’t see appearing in the national media, however, that should be covered and I’m concerned why they are ignored.

I make these points because it reflects what I hear from many of you when you contact me. One of my concerns when I began writing this column a couple years ago was the fear of offending some readers or advertisers who ultimately pay the way for this free newspaper. I’m surprised at the number of you who express concern about speaking out and expressing their views either in letters to the editor, guest commentaries or comments on the web site. Fear of retribution is a major concern for many of you.

The concern that in this land of free speech many have been silenced by fear, not of what others will think, but more so by what others may do, is an alarming trend. Respectful disagreement has taken a back seat in this day and age. One can easily see how outspoken individuals can be labeled “crackpots” or “nut cases” and the media and our politicians should take the blame for making citizens fearful about speaking out.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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