Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Waste of Ink

Yet again, the editorial board of the Northwest Arkansas Times is spewing out nonsense. Today they have an editorial entitled "A Waste of Time," bashing a group of local citizens called Sensible Fayetteville, who have drawn the ire of the editors because they are circulating a petition asking that the cops focus on serious crimes and wink at simple possession of marijuana.

Fayetteville Police Sargent Shannon Gabbard said, "I don't see this making much of a ripple other than as a political statement." The editors chime in like a Greek chorus, "And that's precisely what it is, and nothing more." Much like their editorial. They support the authorities and complain that "Sensible Fayetteville is wasting their time, and ours, with this silly, unnecessary amendment to standing drug policy. We wish the effort would go up in smoke."

It is okay to make or disagree with political statements, really. Some readers disagreed with the editorial writers who demanded, "horror of horrors," that the cops be allowed more discretion to enforce the noise ordinance. Some people poke fun at Walt Eilers, who runs around town writing down license plate numbers and demanding code enforcement against unrelated people living in the same house. There are even those who scoff at the hubris of Executive Editor Greg Harton pompously demanding to be treated with more respect when ordering a hamburger at a fast food joint. It is called dialog, or maybe even argument, and there is no need for editors to silence opposing views, even if they don't think the people are as smart as the inky literati.

I appreciate political statements, even those I find unconvincing. They are part of an ancient and honorable process known as "petitioning the government for a redress of grievances." It is enshrined in the First Amendment, which also protects the right of corporate chain newspaper editors to write petty editorials and other stupid stuff belittling the voice of common citizens. You can look it up.

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