Letters to the Editor

Letter: Opinions section must embrace diversity

Thursday, October 27, 2016

To the Editor:

There is a major flaw in Monday’s column “Brown voters can do better” that should be addressed. It should be addressed because the flaw contradicts the idea that diverse opinions are valuable, which is not a good thing for an opinion article to do, especially not one written by the editor of the opinions section.

The following quote most clearly indicates the problem: “I tend not to demand absolute conformity with my opinion. (Doing so would make the job of being opinions editor impossibly difficult not to mention ethically compromised.) But in this unique case, I feel comfortable holding my peers to high standards even when that means rejecting opinions other than my own.” Here is an uncomfortable but accurate rephrasing of this quote: “I understand that it is ethically wrong for me as the opinions editor to demand conformity with my opinion, but today I am making an exception for a unique case and choose to reject opinions other than my own.”

You might be wondering for what “unique case” the author is denying the basic definition of the word “opinion.” The “unique case” is the result of a recent poll conducted by The Herald which revealed that 6.4 percent of eligible students will abstain from voting in the upcoming presidential election, and another 6.4 percent will vote for third-party candidates. These numbers upset the author of the article because the author believes that any vote not cast for Hillary Clinton is a vote that benefits “Donald Trump’s repulsiveness.”

While the author may have been writing in her capacity as a student, it is not clear whether she is doing so or speaking as a Herald opinions editor. Basically, the author is willing to abandon the essential function of an opinions section because she dislikes a certain person’s behavior. But isn’t a situation which challenges your embedded opinion the true test for an opinions editor? Ironically, this author’s attitude actually resembles Donald Trump’s angry stubbornness when she decides on “rejecting opinions other than (her) own.”

Not only does an opposition to people’s right to a different opinion render an opinions section useless — an opposition to third-party voting rejects the freedom of democracy.

Aaron Broadbent RISD ’19