Welcome to the marketplace of ideas

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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Last week The Farmville Herald received a call and a letter, also on this page today, about why we would publish a letter from a resident suggesting store owners not turn on the air conditioning this summer in an effort to slow the coronavirus.

I’m not going to get into the science, if there is any, behind the suggestion that keeping the environment warmer would help to spread the coronavirus. We have more unqualified people playing doctor and scientist on television these days than you can shake a stick at.

I will make a couple points. The theory that heat in warm weather climates would slow the virus was discussed on National Public Radio five days before the letter was published in our paper. The idea about warmer weather and higher humidity slowing the virus comes from a study by the Department of Homeland Security. And, not turning on the air conditioning is far from the craziest idea we have heard in presidential briefings on national TV.

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Whether it is the spread of the coronavirus or comments about a city park, this editorial page is your page — the page of the people. As editor, I try to give a light editing touch and wide berth to the ideas and comments of our readers. A caller said surely we don’t publish every letter. We pretty much do publish every letter. If it is a letter from a local person about local issues I try to include it. Everyone deserves a voice. Only a couple letters have been rejected during my short time here.

Of course, we want our letter writers to be civil, and please keep your letters to 300 words or less.

The opinion page is where our readers get to speak up and use their voices to let everyone know what’s on their mind. It’s my favorite part of the newspaper because we get some interaction between the newspaper, the community and our readers. It’s where we discuss the issues, and oftentimes, new ideas are born.

But, while we filter out statements that are blatantly false, the reader should also be aware that the thoughts and ideas on this page have no more credence than what you would typically hear in the barber shop, beauty salon or read on Facebook.

So when a reader writes suggesting we not use air conditioning this summer as a method to control coronavirus, it’s just another thought in our marketplace of ideas that is the opinion page.

ROGER WATSON is editor of The Farmville Herald. His email address is Roger.Watson@ FarmvilleHerald.com.