Editor?s Note from March 20, 2009

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    I have been Issues & Ideas editor for almost two semesters now, and have seen many letters to the editor and viewpoints cross my desk. I?ve also written a fair number myself. Most of the time, a submission will prompt but a few responses, sometime in tones of extreme offense, sometimes echoing resounding praise. But occasionally, a letter or viewpoint will strike a chord with or a match against some facet of BYU life. Occasionally, some point made will penetrate deep into the culture of this university and prick it, for better or for worse.

    When this happens, responses flood into the DU e-mail account. Usually, the knee-jerks pop in first ? the letters that vehemently applaud or condemn the original message. The authors of these letters have either already thought through the issue and are eager to communicate the conclusions they have carefully arrived at previously, or they are simply reacting. They say the first thing that comes to their minds, often impassioned and often unintelligible. It’s usually the latter. Then, a second wave of letters arrives, carrying in letters typically more thoughtful, more judicious. The authors of these letters have allowed their thoughts and feelings to process. Usually, this second wave is really more of a ripple, a minor aftershock from the first round. But this week, our Readers? Forum breaks from that trend. This week, the ripple carries more power than the wave.

    I would like to personally thank the readers who have contributed to the discussion on movie ratings. Many of the responses have been written in a spirit of healthy debate, and they have been received with genuine consideration. In reading and analyzing many of the submitted letters, some of my original arguments have been strengthened and solidified in my mind. Other aspects of my viewpoint, I have come to look at with more scrutiny. I have been able to more closely examine things I glazed over before. I have seen readers, in their responses to me and to each other, find merit in arguments they don?t wholly agree with. And I have done the same. I have grown as a communicator and as a person because of your commendable participation, and for the first time in a long time, I have witnessed an encouraging event: people have started to work past polarization and move toward something more meaningful. I have seen the real power and potential of a constructive public forum, and for that, I thank you.

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