Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune, The Covington News, The Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, Alabama), Times-Journal (Fort Payne, Alabama) and Jackson County Sentinel (Scottsboro, Alabama). He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Gaetz and Greene

Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., appear at a rally.

Well, I made the mistake of going on (un)social media last week and of course immediately regretted it.

As I read through the responses to David Clemons’ column concerning U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and the type of company he has been keeping lately, a couple of points struck me.

First, it is interesting how few very people seem to understand how a newspaper works or what an editor and publisher does.

“The newspaper should just be reporting the news. Leave your opinion out of it.”

This, frankly, is a ridiculous comment we hear a lot in the business when the person reading disagrees with the opinion being expressed. Don’t ever hear it when they agree, of course, but when they disagree, boy, we need to stick to reporting.

Let’s be clear: A newspaper provides information and commentary about issues of importance to its readers and it has literally always been that way. As in forever. Since newspapers began a couple hundred years ago.

In this particular case, David provided his take on Hice appearing at an event with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in Dalton. He gave his opinion, which appeared on a page in the newspaper clearly marked “Opinions,” and believe it or not, providing commentary is most definitely part of the editor and publisher’s job description.

Second, political debate in this country has now deteriorated to the point it basically doesn’t exist. We are so polarized there seems to be no way to agree to disagree agreeably anymore. Just vitriolic bickering and backbiting instead.

Actually, political debate has been reduced to name calling. Because nothing counters someone’s opposing political viewpoint better than going back to third-grade to come up with a real zinger. Why not stick your tongue out as well? That’ll show ’em.

It’s OK to disagree with David. I do it all the time. Very rarely do he and I align when it comes to our national political viewpoints.

But how about we make an argument about why he is wrong instead of just telling him he’s dumb, a liberal or whatever. It’s not hard, really.

For example, I could make a compelling argument as to why it was an incredibly smart play for Hice to be seen with two of the rising stars in the Republican Party as he begins his first campaign for statewide political office.

See how easy that was?

Agree to disagree agreeably, folks. Life is too short

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