By: Robert Scott
All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
“Where you stand depends on where you sit.” That bit of political analysis is a conventional explanation as to why people’s thinking about issues differs from one another; it all depends on your background, on what issues touch you and yours. Like so many things, that can be beneficial and all for the good, so long as you don’t overdo it. But in America of the early 21st Century, it is easy to overdo it. We have so many choices as to where we may go to get information, that we can choose only to listen to voices we agree with, only to watch television news stations we know in advance will reflect our own viewpoints, and only to read newspaper OpEd columns whose authors’ opinions generally align with our own. And that can prove stifling by narrowing rather than broadening our understanding of the truly complex issues we all face.
Which is one reason why The Edgefield Advertiser now has three regular OpEd columnists, each with his or her own voice. In last week’s issue, this column, generally more liberal than conservative, consisted of readings from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer chosen to provide guidance as to what is important when thinking about elections. Blaney Pridgen, himself a retired cleric, wrote about the importance of Science (capitalized on purpose) to each of us in making informed decisions, and Linda Nidiffer introduced herself as planning to present a viewpoint to our readership that is more conservative than liberal. Each of us has, and will continue to present, a viewpoint that is designed to encourage our readers “to think outside the box” – where, in this case, the box is one’s own habitual comfort zone.
The readers of The Edgefield Advertiser are encouraged to read all three each week, and especially to read most carefully those that you may be inclined in advance to see as different from your normal way of thinking. As a teacher, I know that intellectual growth is hard, sometimes painful, but necessary if one is to learn a new way of looking at the world and at one another. And intellectual growth is necessary in a world that is ever changing, ever evolving from yesterday’s comforts and discomforts on our way to an always uncertain tomorrow.
A broad base of knowledge, among other things, makes one a better-informed citizen and a more careful voter. Read, listen, think – and then vote. And remember that November 3rd is the last day to vote, not the first day to vote. Just as there is no reason to wait until the last day of a one-week sale to go shopping, there is no reason not to become fully informed and to vote as soon as you are ready!