Regardless of opinion, we all deserve respect

In response to Lorraine Nicholls’ belief (“New Year’s Eve procession a success”, letters, January 23) that “tirades” were launched at Lyndall Jenkins before Christmas, may I remind her that the letters directed at Lyndall’s point of view were in response to Lyndall’s own letter.

They were not tirades, they were opinions, as were her comments, and it is sad that anyone imagines that this is a bad thing. We were both participating in our community in a democratic way.

I am proud to be able to express opinions in the way I do. I am proud to belong to a country that encourages free speech and citizen involvement. But it is something that some people forget.

The central feature of any democracy is the right to be heard. It is hard sometimes to have to listen to views that are different from your own but that is the essence of what a democracy is.

And that means that all sides of every issue need respect. Respect means having the ability to tolerate differences, the curiosity to consider others’ points of view and the understanding that even when we don’t agree, we are involved in community in a fundamentally important way.

As for the fabulous New Year’s Eve Parade; I sat on a float with a so called “pillar” of our society and was pleased to do so. There were other pillars around us as well.

Please make sure you can back up sarcastic assertions, Lorraine. It doesn’t help anything if you are wrong.

Carol Oliver,


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