It hardly can go unnoticed that several of the Letters to the Editor published in recent editions of the Jewish Link indicate that there is squabbling and public second guessing going on between both incumbent and would-be Teaneck office holders, as well as community critics whose personal perspectives or allegiances are unknown or undeclared. These comments, in some ways, reflect the aggressive, distrustful tone of public comments made during “Good & Welfare” segments of Teaneck council meetings.
While we encourage our readers to participate in community discussion on our opinion pages, we want to remind some of the letter writers that there is a responsibility that comes with it. That responsibility should be reflected within the demeanor of the letters they compose.
This is one of the reasons that we have examined our editorial policy and created one specific to Letters to the Editor. You can find it directly below the masthead.
Younger people, who one day will govern Teaneck schools and municipal services, certainly can hear about or read about differences in opinions debated. We’re asking that town leaders, as well as their critics, comport themselves in a way that raises the bar of discussion, no matter how heated a disagreement. Some of what we’ve been hearing and reading is nothing short of lashon hara. Just because the language involves a public panel or public citizens doesn’t give anyone a free pass to take the debate to the bottom rung of innuendo.
Also, we support the idea that if you really want to make a difference in Teaneck or wherever your local governance may be, then you also have to get up from behind your home-office computer, log off Facebook, and attend public meetings. Find a place where you can take part, which is yet another example we can all give to our children and grandchildren.
Free speech can never be taken for granted. It’s what makes our society great.
Responsibility and civility make free speech even better.