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Speaking of comments: Let the voices be heard

Among the principal roles newspapers and news websites play in society is serving as community sounding boards, places where the exchange of ideas takes place. We learn of current events as well as the opinions and decisions shaping these events simply by reading these media.

Throughout history, journalism has served us well.

In 1791, Thomas Paine wrote, The Rights of Man, a collection of essays defending the values of the Revolution, those of liberty, equality and brotherhood. Paine explored the idea that government based on true justice should support not only mankind’s natural rights — life, liberty, free speech, freedom of conscience — but, also its civil rights.

He highlighted the fact that only a fraction of the people paying taxes were allowed to vote. Using detailed calculations, Paine showed how a tax system, including one that included income tax, could provide social welfare in support of those civil rights. Decades ahead of his time, he outlined a plan covering widespread education, child benefit, pensions for the elderly, poor relief and much more. The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies and became the most widely read book in the Western world at the time, much of its success due to the serialization of his work in newspapers.

It seems the whole world is facing challenges of historical proportions. Basic civil rights are being questioned in support of an agenda many thoughtful people considered long passed and placed in the dumpster of history — where it belongs. But, not so.

Again, and again, news organizations of all stripes are being called upon to broadcast the events of the day and ways to address the swirling fog of accusations and innuendo. And again, and again, reporters risk their lives — and often die — in pursuit of the truth.

It is about time we in Cuenca do a little truth-telling of our own.

As you may have noticed in our online comments section, some of our readers have intensely strong views, some at considerable odds with the mainstream. Yet, they are our neighbors and their voices deserve to be heard.

To attempt at least a modicum of civility and unification in support of the basic tenants of the U.S. holiday, Independence Day, I offer the following, to all those who express their opinions, especially to those who do so with a great deal of anger and dissatisfaction.

We welcome your comments to our articles. Let the members of our community know what you think. Our policy is purposefully “big tent” and welcomes a broad range of opinions no matter how strongly stated so long as they don’t violate our posted comments policy. We embrace Thomas Paine’s concept that a “spirited exchange of ideas” leads to a more vibrant community.

For this particular article, please comment on what you love about living in Ecuador, and why you choose to live in a country that espouses the values that it does.

Tell us how you came to the decision to abandon your homeland. Were you summarily dismissed as being “obsolete,” or unable to pay the price? Did you long for a culture that embraces the love of family above all else while serving as a model for welcoming refugees suffering economic and social collapse?

Tell us. Take a moment to share with us your feelings. Give a few moments of your time to explain your decision.

We are all made of the same cloth, only our history and color varies. Show us your true colors.

The readers of CuencaHighLife and Cuenca Dispatch are eager to learn about their neighbors. They want to be able to depend on you. They are anxious to know if you are creating a home in Ecuador, or passing through to some other place, some different ideal.

Those who consider it a right to voice their opinion in the public forum of this website should appreciate our right to know who you are, and whether or not you can be relied upon in times of peril and danger.

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section following my post.

Thank you.
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Editor’s note: The CuencaHighLife comments policy explains the rules of this forum. Please note that in addition to our stated parameters, we have the right to accept or reject comments for any reason we consider appropriate. Like many other English-language online comment sections, we use the Disqus comment hosting service. Occasionally, submitted comments do not make it through the system to us. On others, the Disqus software rejects comments due to “red-flagged” email addresses, IP addresses or content; some of these comments may be approved by our moderators and briefly appear on the website but are later removed by the system software. For commenters who have experienced this, we suggest submitting comments with another email address.