Thankful for your words

Published 9:55 am Friday, November 27, 2015

Reflecting on Thanksgivings past and the one I celebrated on Thursday with my family, I’ve realized that I’ve become much more cognizant of the blessings that are in my life.

I’m healthy, my family is all around me, I’ve got a great job, wonderful friends and a strong church. Those are things that are important to me.

This Thanksgiving, though, I’ve learned that I, along with many others, need to be thankful for one particular liberty that we all take for granted every time we post a status on Facebook, tweet a statement on Twitter or allow our thoughts to be published on this page.

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Freedom of speech and of the press is a right that millions around the world are without.

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights reads.

In the information age we live in where news from around the world can be disseminated within a matter of seconds, this amendment is more important to American culture and prosperity than it ever has been, I think.

This page — the one on your screen or the one you’re reading now — is a major artery to the strong, beating heart of the First Amendment.

You and I can criticize and call each other out. We can question the motives and credentials of our government representatives and administration officials. We can question their decisions and recommend better and brighter ones. We can call for social movements to start and for clashes to end.

One beautiful aspect of living in the U.S. is that all of of our words are equal.

What I say here is no more or less important than what the president of the United States or a member of the board of supervisors could write here.

Your letters to us and submitted columns are just as important as our editorials are.

And when you or I call out an elected official or an idea posed by our government — local, state or federal — there’s no fear of retribution or retaliation.

The same government that we criticize shields and protects us and our freedoms.

To have a healthy democracy we need a citizenry, which means making our opinions known for others to hear, read and consider.

I want to help keep you an active member of American democracy by printing your letters to the editor, guest columns and other thoughts on issues that affect you and your community.

Send them to us enmasse at I want your thoughts, opinions and feelings about what’s going on — no matter negative or positive.

I’m thankful to work for an American paper that proudly gives you that option.

Jordan Miles is managing editor of The Farmville Herald. His email address is