A statement of what we believe in

    Even though the Cherokee Scout and other community newspapers are miles away in content and resources from dailies like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, it still pains me a bit when someone lashes out at the “media” without noting that not all are created equal. Then again, everybody who knows me also knows I can be just as critical of the national media, particularly in how Cherokee County residents were portrayed when Eric Rudolph was still running free in these mountains.
    One of the biggest issues facing any newspaper that dares to publish an opinions page is how to walk the tightrope between sharing perspectives on issues people need to know about versus simply parroting what most readers already believe. It’s all too easy for even the best of intentions to get twisted into misperception once conspiracy theorists start speculating.
    One reason that happens is because some newspapers don’t do a very good job of communicating with their readers. All too often we assume everyone reads everything, and as a result some important things can be forgotten when the next news cycle rolls around.
    In hopes of doing a better job of that in 2017, I’m sharing some of the key positions the Scout has taken on the opinions page in the past and likely will again in the future. This is not an inclusive list, and not in any specific order, but it hits on points that matter the most.
    * We believe individuals have freedoms granted by God that cannot be taken away by any government.
    * We will always work to preserve open meetings and public records.
    * We will defend the constitutional rights of all Americans, in particular the First Amendment’s guarantees of a free press, free speech and religious liberty, and the Second Amendment right of law-abiding citizens to own legal firearms.
    * We are non-partisan and look at each town, county, state or federal issue on a case-by-case basis, with the priority being local impact.
    * We believe everyone deserves access to affordable health-care options.
    * We believe in supporting our schools, which are a vital bridge to the future.
    * We believe in personal property rights. At the same time, we also believe in being good neighbors.
    * We believe in proper planning. At the same time, we also believe in not tying the hands of future governmental leaders.
    * We believe Cherokee County’s natural resources should be treated with great care, as our environment has been entrusted to us from above.
    * We support efforts to beautify our area for cosmetic and economic reasons.
    * We support efforts to recruit industry that enhance our area and allow residents a chance to make a better living.
    * We support efforts to help animals, from making adoption easier, to spaying and neutering programs, to providing shelter for homeless pets.
    * We believe in social programs that provide a helping hand to residents in need, not just handouts.
    * We believe everyone has an individual responsibility to take care of themselves and their families as long as they are healthy enough to do so.
    * We believe in supporting local charities, churches and non-profits, who do so much good with so little.
    * We believe government should only be as large as needed to provide the services residents have requested, and raising taxes should be a last resort.
    What would you like to see added to this list next time around? Your opinion is important to me. Thanks for reading.
    David Brown is publisher of the Cherokee Scout. You can reach him by phone, 837-5122; fax, 837-5832; email, dbrown@cherokeescout.com; or message him on Twitter @daviddBstroh..