Editorial: Citizenship calls for respect, too

Published 9:50 am Friday, September 12, 2014


The dictionary says it is the study of the rights and duties of citizenship.

Those duties mean participation in community matters. Get out there, speak your peace, get involved, vote. Be a citizen.

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One big matter in Albert Lea is the debate on the calendar for Albert Lea Area Schools. There will be some stern disagreement, some feelings hurt and winners and losers of carefully (and not-so-carefully) constructed arguments.

There is a lesson of civics, however, that everyone needs to remember this fall. Don’t take participation in community issues personally.

In fact, citizens often are quick to criticize politicians, but one lesson citizens could learn from politicians — well, most of them, anyway — is to not take it personally when someone disagrees with you. Most politicians know this.

The fact is, no matter how we stand on the issue of the calendar, we all want the same thing — a better school district. Don’t hate someone because they have a difference of opinion. Don’t be angry. Those days of high school popularity games are behind us. In fact, be the opposite. Be respectful. Remember that nobody gets their way all of the time.

There are other major debates this fall, mainly regarding elections. They, too, have divisive matters, such as the county sheriff race or the House District 27A race.

No matter what people say about the issues, they say it because they want what they feel is best for the Albert Lea area, not because they are evil, horrible, despicable people. No, they are just practicing what they learned in civics class just like everyone else.

Keep that in mind, and when the debates get stirred up and passions and temperament are hot, think of the word: civics.

We all go home to our families, to our loved ones, to our cherished possessions, just like the all other citizens do.