MARCANO: Disagree with what you’ve read? Write for this newspaper

Ray Marcano

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Ray Marcano

I get quite a few emails and, inevitably, get some that start by saying “you’re stupid.” They rail against some point I’ve made (or maybe didn’t make as well as I had hoped) because people have different views.

Some of those passionate emails contain points that I don’t agree with — but that doesn’t matter. I think it’s worth civilly discussing different views, so I always ask the same thing:

Why don’t you write an Ideas & Voices piece for this newspaper?

In Ideas & Voices, contributors write about issues important to them, from their point of view.

When I suggest to readers to write what they think, they’re genuinely surprised by the suggestion. They incorrectly assumed the newspaper wouldn’t be interested in what they have to say. They assumed the media’s liberal bias (their words) purposely restricts a platform for their views. They think, for some reason, that if they disagree with what I have to say the newspaper would have no interest in publishing their remarks.

Wrong again.

Perceptions are like checking accounts. They’re really hard to change. But I’m going to try.

Yes, the newspaper wants to hear your views.

If you disagree when I write that Republicans play a dangerous game when race-baiting to gain votes, write about why you think that’s wrong. If you think I’m out of my mind when I write that the Supreme Court’s upcoming Roe decision won’t galvanize Democrats, write about it. I believe we need a strong third party to break up and R and D political monopoly that acts in its best interests more than their constituents.

Don’t agree? Write about it.

Writing that can persuade (or infuriate) readers isn’t easy. So here are some tips.

The best columns make a strong point, highlight an issue of local relevance that people care about and then propose a solution to that issue. The columns also anticipate objections and counters them.

Nick Hrkman, the Ideas & Voices editor, told me the horrible killings in Uvalde, Texas has resulted in more Ideas & Voices submissions than on any other subject during his tenure. Wednesday’s slaughter in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and those that are, sadly, inevitably coming in the future will only cause more debate.

Related to that subject, a few people were incensed last week when I wrote about the “meaningless” thoughts and prayers rhetoric from politicians who refuse to look at ways to stem gun violence after mass shootings. The prevailing school of thought seemed to be that using the phrase “meaningless thoughts and prayers” insults people of faith.

Why not write about the power of prayer in your life?

All you have to do is write 500 words and send it to edletter@coxinc.com. No, not every submission gets accepted for a myriad of reasons, including whether the column has a point and the relevance to a local audience. Want to provide a shorter piece? You can also submit letters to the editor that can be up to 250 words to the same address.

So, yes, we want to hear your views. I don’t have a monopoly on opinions.

SOMETHING NEW: I’m going to start accepting questions from readers and answering them in columns. No topics are off limits. I’ll use your first and last initial and town of resident (RM, Dayton, asks) along with your query. Earlier this year, I said I wanted to increase options to interact the with readers, especially those that don’t agree, and foster respectful discussions. This is one possible method. If you’re interested, use the email below.

Ray Marcano’s column appears on these pages each Sunday. He can be reached at raymarcanoddn@gmail.com

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