Our appointed leaders are responsible for and responsive to the citizens who elected them, and meetings should reflect a public discourse for a wide spectrum of communications.

Constituents are asked to participate in our democratic form of government by communicating to their elected officials online during this COVID-19 pandemic. Elected officials and the people joining together to take part in these public meetings must realize the weight of their words and example being set.

Heated debates and almost incendiary comments will forever be on record with the names of the community members involved.

While it is imperative to stand up for beliefs, it is equally important to lead with a dedicated willingness to communicate how being online with the freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences.

It is of the utmost magnitude to remain as civil as possible during these public meetings, just as one would if these meetings were face-to-face.

Every idea or concern deserves to be acknowledged, however, the ideal to voice an opinion remains clear and should be heard by our elected officials.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board. PShelby@sunnysidesun.com

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