Scott Tibbs
blog post
January 18th, 2004

Back to Archived blog posts.

Sometimes, people just have a different opinion.

A few weeks ago in the Herald-Times, there was a guest column that posed the question: "Is Monroe County's water source being sold to the highest bidder?"

This represents what I consider an unfortunate attitude in politics, from the local level to the national level. If someone takes a controversial position, he is accused of taking that position for less than honorable reasons. The implication of the headline is that if someone supports a development near Lake Monroe, he must have been bought off by a developer. There are numerous other examples where similar charges are levied on other issues.

Could it be that support for a project indicates that there is simply an honest difference of opinion? Could it be that someone who supports a development (in this case, the Shawnee Bluffs development) simply believes that it will not be as harmful as critics of the policy say it will be? Could it be that a supporter of Shawnee Bluffs believes that private property rights must be given consideration, in addition to benefits and drawbacks of the project?

I have seen accusations of corruption from both sides of the political spectrum for years, based only on support for or opposition to a controversial issue. In many (though not all) cases, the reason people take opposing positions on an issue is they simply have a different opinion on the benefits and drawbacks of a policy or a proposal. Those opinions are reinforced by fundamental philosophical beliefs, like a support of private property rights or enthusiasm for protecting the environment.

If we hope to have a "safe and civil" political system, we are going to have to recognize that not everyone who disagrees with us does so for nefarious reasons.