I want all our readers to know that we now a new policy when it comes to commenting on posts here. You have the ability to register, or post anonymously. However, anonymous posters will have to sign their name to their comments — the same as you do to have a Letter to the Editor published. If you're going to comment, you're going to have to have the intestinal fortitude to sign your name to your opinions. It's just that simple.
What has made this necessary is the uncivilized, and purely vitriolic nature of some recent comments from people posting anonymously disagreeing with some the opinions expressed here. I believe that level of discourse is totally uncalled for, and the nature of any debate will be much more civilized if people have to actually sign their names to what they write.
I have a pretty thick skin — something necessary in the line of work I've spent most of my adult life doing — and it's grown even thicker since entering politics. So I can handle disagreement, and I can certainly hold my own in a debate. What I have no patience with is people who result to name calling, personal insults and threats when they can't make a rational argument to defend their dissenting opinion.
The catalyst for this change was the post about 26th District Senate candidate Marty McClendon's references to his son in his campaign. A number of posters felt I was wrong to express the opinion that I didn't mind him mentioning his son's leukemia, as I believe it gives people a sense of who and what Mr. McClendon is, and the challenges his family has faced, but felt he overplays it during Q&A interludes.
Disagreement is fine within the bounds of civility. And it wasn't even the vitriolic name calling, but threats against my family and our personal safety that got completely out of hand. Some of it was obviously driven by the fact I expressed the opinion that I believe McClendon isn't going to beat Senator Derek Kilmer. It seems most of the rudest name callers took more offense to that, then what I actually said about McClendon mentioning his son.
These same posters seemed to have completely ignored the statement in the second sentence of that post that those were my personal OBSERVATIONS about the PROBABLE outcomes — and they were NOT endorsements for any candidates. The truth is, some of the folks I'd personally like to see win, and think we'd all be better off if they did, probably won't, while I don't believe some incumbents I'd like to see defeated, will be.
So the bottom line is, from this point forward, if you want to disagree with me, that's fine, and debate is still openly welcomed. But you're going to have to demonstrate you have the the courage of your convictions, by simply signing your name. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so.