November 07, 2001 11:00 pm

A decision by a group of local people to hold peace vigils every Thursday at Max Square in La Grande has sparked some letters critical of people who would advocate peace in a time of national crisis. It also has resulted in people of opposing views showing up to protest and heckle those who are promoting peace. Its important during these days of increased tensions that people keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their viewpoint.

Max Square has become La Grandes town square. Although its not a very big park, there is room for lots of different viewpoints. Anyone who wants to promote a particular viewpoint on an issue has the right to show up and do just that. But people need to realize that everyone is entitled to the same freedom, and we must be civil in the way we treat and encounter each other. We must be tolerant of each other.

One of the things that we as Americans can be proud of is our constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and assembly. As letters to the editor have pointed out many times in the past few weeks, our freedoms are what countless veterans have fought and died to protect. We all need to take those monumental efforts to heart, even if it means giving space to someone whose philosophy and political leanings are different from our own.

This country is too great and our freedoms too important to let political and philosophical differences drive a wedge between us. We all must be broad-minded enough to allow our fellow Americans a right to their opinions.

So whether youre an advocate for peace or someone who believes that military action is necessary, feel free to show up at Max Square and show your colors. But be civil to each other. We all must continue to cherish the right to free speech.


The Bonneville Power Administrations Community Conservation Challenge this week is challenging us to turn off computers and television sets when not in use.

There is no reason to leave computer monitors and TVs on when they are not is use. Yet thats what many of us do. Standard computer monitors use an average of 80 watts of electricity an hour. Individually, that doesnt add up to a whole lot. But as a region those kilowatt hours accumulate. The same goes for TVs. If each household had the TV on one hour less each day, the region could save 210 million kilowatt-hours over the course of a year. At current rates, that amounts to about $12.5 million a year for the region.

We can all impact our energy usage and help lower the bills we pay each month by taking simple little steps. So consider saving your screen by switching your computer off at night, and spend time with your newspaper or pick up a book for an hour instead of watching TV all night.