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Comment articles reflect the opinion of the writer, not the Rapp News. Reply below or by writing a letter to editor: editor@rappnews.com.

How does “the newspaper” feel about (fill in the blank)? You will be hard pressed to know because “the newspaper” rarely writes editorials which express the newspaper’s viewpoint. That’s intentional: Why would you care what some newspaper thinks about anything?

Instead, we try to report the news fairly — and let people draw their own conclusions about how to feel about what’s happening. (Does that mean every story is perfect? Of course not. Humans aren’t perfect.)

While this newspaper generally doesn’t take stances on issues, we proudly present these pages as a forum for free speech, which is a founding principle of our nation (and is sadly under attack at this moment, especially). I can count on less than two hands the number of letters or comment pieces submitted that have not been published in the past five years. Our desire is to feature all views. 

But, increasingly, this approach has been tested by the massive divisions in our national politics and culture, which have too often become personal. No longer is an opposing point of view disagreeable. Instead, the person expressing it is despicable. In the previous couple of issues, this overheated tone has seeped into these pages. 

Enough, please. Let’s debate and disagree about issues — not go nuclear with personal barbs. It is time to lower the volume. And it’s time, locally, to rise above the often bitter national discourse.

As such, we are concluding a recent exchange this week and moving forward with a renewed emphasis on keeping the debate focused on the issues. More than ever, we want to be a forum for debate and discussion. But please forgo the personal attacks.

— The writer is publisher of the Rappahannock News.

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