Column: An invitation to the silent majority to speak up

It has seemed that many of the letters to the editor, at least in the Nevada Appeal, are written by a vocal minority of folks who are quite uncomfortable with "the way things are."

There is frequently a strong bias against "government" and against anyone who might be serving therein. One finds a healthy dose of both suspicion and fear apparent in much of the writing by this minority.

And there seems to be an unwillingness or inability to analyze issues in depth. Possibly anger and stress trigger "shoot from the hip" comments? Or fear deadens rational analysis? Perhaps some folks need a workshop in logic? Did our educational system fail some of us?

"The way things are," admittedly, is due to a myriad of causes. For example, the unbearable traffic

on Carson's main street is probably due to our love of travel, our relentless busyness, the current lack of other adequate routes for north-south travelers, the overpopulating of our city, insufficient planning by earlier city "fathers and mothers," and so on.

As for "government," it is, after all, us! If there are politicians who don't seem to represent us as we'd like, or programs that seem out-of-touch with what is really needed, it behooves us to speak out as often as we can, by letter, e-mail, ballot.

The low voter turnout in recent years calls into question our properly "speaking out." How can we rightly question "the way things are going" if we don't make our wishes known?

The turnout at some elections is below 30 percent of registered voters, mocking the sacrifice of our forebears who struggled, often to the death, for our right to vote!

Conspiracy theories abound in these letters and on the Internet. Yet it is doubtful that those currently propounded are based on anything more than fear, itself based in ignorance. It is quite unlikely that black government helicopters will be circling our houses any time soon. And if "they" (really "we") had wanted to disarm us, wouldn't they have done it by now? Will trigger locks on guns and brief waiting periods to buy guns, added to the fine gun-safety classes promoted by the NRA, really interfere with rightful gun ownership?

Not being at war in the world, are we uncomfortable at peace? Is this why some of us belong to militia groups and spend our time plotting against our own government, or against those of different color or persuasion? It certainly seems that we operate less out of love than fear (love's opposite). And our knee-jerk thinking fuels that fear.

Standing against this vocal minority is an enormous silent majority that is thoughtful and caring about important issues. If only some of this group would speak up more often, the level of public dialogue would be enhanced dramatically.

Consider this piece your most cordial invitation to the world of print and talk media. Fear not, silent majority, the world of rational discourse wants to hear from you!

Respondez, s'il vous plait! (RSVP)

Susan Paslov is a retired attorney who teaches English as a Second Language. She is married, with three children and one grandchild.

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