Pharos-Tribune

June 29, 2013

OUR VIEW: Debate the issue, not the people


Pharos-Tribune

LOGANSPORT — Getting involved in the discussions on this page isn’t something we like to do. By discussions we mean the publishing of letters to the editor. We feel the less influence the paper has in these discussions, the more honest and organic they will be. But there’s one topic that’s caused us to do more policing than we’d like — the proposed power plant.

The direction the discussion has been heading is disconcerting. The Pharos-Tribune reserves the right to edit letters or even reject them, if absolutely necessary. Those aren’t things we like to do, and both have happened in this discussion. Why do we do that? Well, there is a number of reasons, but in this particular case, the most common cause has been what we perceived as personal attacks.

We feel those in the discussion are losing sight of the issue, focusing on discrediting others rather than sticking to the issue at hand. Many are not focusing on the argument, but rather on those involved in the argument. At this point, we think it’s fair to call it an argument.

There are clearly two sides lined up for and against this project, and there’s a community full of people watching the argument ensue. While the masses might not be involved, you can bet they’re listening to it play out on this page and at the local coffee shop.

Currently, the listeners are getting a lot of static in the feed because the discussion has been bogged down with personal attacks and accusations. This is too important of a decision for us to lose sight of what’s really important.

It’s understandable that tensions are high and that both sides feel they’re right.

There is still much to be discussed, so we welcome the discussion to continue. If fact, we really hope it does. It’s a discussion that needs to happen.

But we’d like to see the discussion refocused on the matter at hand. We won’t ever come together as a collective if we put our energy into picking each other apart. Rather, we’d like to see a resolution to focus on the facts, not the people. And that doesn’t mean the sides won’t continue to disagree. We don’t see that happening, to be honest.

As big decisions have a history of doing, this is dividing us rather than uniting us. And it will continue to do so, if the path doesn’t change.

This decision is important. It needs our full focus, not whatever focus we have leftover after the argument.

It’s important to remember that we were neighbors before this plant was even an idea. We’re neighbors as we decide what’s best for our city, and we’ll be neighbors after the decision is made and this plant or another alternative is built.

As neighbors, we should be able to have a civil discussion that doesn’t devolve into name-calling and bickering.

Let’s stick to the issue, on this page and out there in the community.