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Vitriol and ad hominem attacks have destroyed civil dialogue in our country.

We are used to this in our national politics, but in the publication of a recent opinion piece, The Dunn County News has advanced an ad hominem attack on one of our own.

The opinion piece maligns the character of Dan Paulson by intentionally linking his resignation from the position of school board president with criminals and criminal behavior.

Dan Paulson has committed no crime. Rather, he has been attacked because of an association with an individual on social media.

Dan has publicly stated that he does not share or condone the views of this individual.

The problem should have been resolved through civil dialogue.

But it wasn’t.

The aggressive questioning came fast and hard at a recent school board meeting. The situation escalated quickly and Dan Paulson subsequently resigned as president. Dan has said that he felt blind-sided in the incident. He was, and that is now way to conduct civil dialogue.

A man who has worked a lifetime to increase tolerance in our community had his reputation destroyed by his association with an individual who did not.

By publishing an ad hominem attack on Dan Paulson, The Dunn County News has thrown gasoline on the situation and has further prevented civil dialogue from taking place.

Let me make this plain: It is the job of the press to advance the education of the public, not to advance personal attacks against a person’s character that are couched in the form of rhetorical questions.

Our children learn a lot from us. In this case they have learned the wrong lessons about the importance of civil dialogue and its place in our community.

—Chris Freeman, town of Menomonie

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(9) comments


All my article did was ask for a formal reason for Paulson’s resignation. No such statement was made. Moreover, Mr. Paulson was well aware of the issue prior to the meeting you mention. I know, because I emailed the board. Question: How is asking for transparency from our school board an ad hominem attack? At no point did I claim Paulson was a criminal. Most people don’t know what he is right now. That’s the problem.


"... Unlike Jay Fahl and Colleen Davis....
School board members, like most other politicians, are elected by the citizenry. ...they can be openly criticized by the voting public. They can and should be held to account."
When they resign as an officer, but remain in power as a board member, they should explain to their constituents the reasons behind .... their misconduct.
Given the sordid history of recent SDMA Board Presidents, ...
We know he was confronted .... by citizens in board meetings and by email this year."


Can these citizens be identified and emails be made publicly so we can all know what these people were confronting him about?


What kind of "transparency" are you concerned about?
Can you identify "most people" and elaborate on "what he is right now?"
Is there more to "the problem" or will you just leave this "problem" you raised as very vague?


"Mr. Paulson's behavior has been very disturbing from his attempts to control public comments of constituents to supporting anti Semitic rants on social media. As a board member, I wouldn't tolerate this behavior for a moment. An apology and complete resignation from the board is in order."


Please stop spreading lies and slander. Dan Paulson has never supported "anti Semitic rants" on social media. Never.


"After the School District of the Menomonie Area’s board of canvassers met ....Burstad will retain her seat on the board, ..."


"Defamation is a false statement presented as a fact that causes injury or damage to the character of the person it is about. "

It is unfair, dangerous, and devisive to use racially charged accusations, such as antisemitism, without clear evidence of such wrong doing. The defamatory accusations against Dan Paulson appear to be unjust and unsubstantiated. This also lessens the pain imposed on those who have been the subject of real intolerance. To irresponsibly make such claims is a detriment not only to Mr. Paulson, but also to the school board and the community. Perhaps such attacks on Mr. Paulson, and the likely stress incurred because of such defamation, was reason enough for his resignation. Until real evidence is provided, I don't blame Mr. Paulson for not obliging the baseless accusations.


But how can the Tea Party takeover otherwise?

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