To the editor:

In this hyperpartisan climate leading to the next presidential election, it is vitally important that each citizen regardless of political, religious or cultural/social identity has a media platform to use to express concerns and positions on all matters from immigration, taxes, health care to the conditions of the roads and bridges that must be traveled to reach work, shopping, places of worship and the world- at- large. It is the availability of media outlets that provide access to diverse viewpoints that helps to distinguish The United States differs from countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea where an autocrat’s view is the only one heard and often promoted through a single, state-run media outlet.

Kudos to the Martinsville Bulletin for providing a media platform for use by the citizens of Martinsville, Henry County and surrounding communities via its editorial page. Letters published on this page reflect not only the views of professional commentators and community leaders but the reflections of ordinary citizens speaking out on matters of concern.

Access to the Bulletin’s editorial page is open to all with the added and critical requirement that each writer provides his or her name and contact information, so that their identity can be verified by the Bulletin’s editorial board before publication. Writers to the Bulletin’s editorial page must “own” their written views and thereby show the courage to stand by those commentaries in the face of opposing ideas.

I believe that this editorial service provided to the citizens of our region by the Bulletin will become increasingly important in the months leading up to national state and local elections. We need to share viewpoints and concerns. We need to be an active, thinking, collaborative electorate. Access to diverse ideas using such outlets as the Bulletin’s editorial page will be critical to successful citizenship.

CAROL MEYER

Ridgeway