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The Villages
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Why can’t we all get our points across without name-calling, bullying or harassing?

To the Editor:

I enjoy reading many of the articles, opinions and letters to the editors in our local publications. Many of our neighbors have wonderful suggestions, opinions and life experiences that may help others and are willing to share these. However, I believe that some of us have forgotten how to express our thoughts respectfully.
Recently I was reading a letter to the editor in one of our online publications. I then like to read all the comments. There were 44 comments and more than half of them were nasty, caustic, or brought up politics in an accusatory way.
Why can’t we all get our points across without name-calling, bullying or harassing? There is no need to bring politics into the conversation when responding to something we disagree with. (One of the many clubs we have in The Villages will remind their audience every week that, “We can disagree however, we don’t have to be disagreeable.”) We are all entitled to our opinions however, we are not entitled to our own facts.
When making a statement which we believe to be true, we should make an effort to see that the statement is actually true. On occasion, I have forwarded an email that I believed to be true only to be told later that it was inaccurate. I try to check an email before forwarding however, possibly due to a confirmation bias, sometimes I fail to check. In those cases where I was wrong, I send another email to everyone who received the first email, apologizing and explaining my error.
I know that those of us reading this, may not be able to change the intransigent views that our representatives in Washington have. However, we can become more civil in the way we respond to each other in The Villages. Whenever I go on my 3 mile walk around my neighborhood, I always smile and wave to all the Villagers in golf carts and other people walking by. I almost always receive a smile and a wave back from all these people. If we all made an effort to respond in a civil manner in our written and verbal communications, we can again make The Villages “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.”

Jay Kaplan
Village of Sabal Chase

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The Villages, Florida