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