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Don't drive away young entrepreneurs

Editorial boards of newspapers have a responsibility to set the tone of discussions on serious issues within their publication’s reach. The Republican Eagle Editorial Board failed to do this in their recent ultimatum intended for supporters of Edward Snowden.

Snowden released information on a government program that literally tracks every communication we have besides speaking to one another in person in a sensational way that spurred much needed public attention on the spying. I personally disagreed with his decision to release classified documents because of his personal political beliefs and his decision to seek refuge in China and other oppressive nations instead of facing charges in the United States.

But the editorial attacked anyone who supports Snowden’s actions as “unpatriotic,” “malcontents,” and even goes on to suggest they leave the nation instead of voicing their opinions.

This kind of crass display of authoritarian reasoning in Red Wing’s regional forum of free speech is unacceptable. Ironically, it comes on the heels of an article published on 7/9/2013 in Minnpost, a media outlet based in the cities, detailing Red Wing’s ethnically charged anti-German violence and the actual jailing of people who spoke their minds in opposition of the First World War.

I remember Red Wing’s discussion leading up to the Iraq War in 2003 had a hostile edge to it as well when I experienced it as a high schooler opposed to the war.

The Editorial Board should apologize for suggesting people who support Snowden are “free to leave.” Besides being ridiculous in a free society, it strikes me as the wrong message for a community trying to attract new, young citizens and the business that would come with them.

I saw Red Wing will host a hack event for computer developers and programmers in 2014; I can’t think of a better way to drive away these predominantly young people who are the true entrepreneurs in our society than to run editorials as blunt as this one was.