Their opinions abound; what’s yours?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

Thanks a million for reading this column today. You are just the person I wanted to talk to and need to hear from.

Here’s why: For the past few weeks I have read the work of dozens of columnists in hopes of finding more informative, educational, constructive and entertaining commentary for The Democrat’s Opinion pages.

I can tell you what is on the minds of folks like Cynthia Tucker, David Broder, William Safire, Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews, Ellen Goodman, Charley Reece, Thomas Sowell and others.

I know, for example, that Ellen Goodman thinks Tom Green’s (on trial for polygamy in Utah) having eight wives is a bad idea.

I also know that David Broder thinks it is a great idea for disabled PGA golfer Casey Martin to know have use of a golf cart during competition, but worries the Supreme Court decision will lead to broader implications in sports such as bringing the designated hitter rule to the National League so aging hitters, no longer able to play a position in the field, will be able to participate in games.

I also know that Atlanta Journal and Constitution editorial page editor thinks the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens were too easy on Ray Lewis, allowing him to return to the team after having double-murder charges against him drop and having plead guilty to obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor. Her &uot;No Felony, No Foul&uot; take on the issue brings to light how the business of profession athletics is beginning to accept an element of criminal activity as part of doing business.

Most of these folks have received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary at some point in their careers. Some lean a bit to left – socially, fiscally and politically – and some lean right. But all are very good at what they do.

Just like Okolona, Miss., native William Raspberry, now the chief provider of opinion on issues of national interest in The Democrat. Raspberry, who writes for The Washington Post, will scale back his work a bit this fall.

While we’ll continue to publish his column, this is a good opportunity to take a look at what we are providing you in daily commentary and opinion. We are considering expanding our Sunday opinion package and adding more national voices, perhaps one or more of the folks listed above, to our daily opinion pages.

Our goal is best summed up as providing a forum for constructive debate for our readers, a debate which will benefit the common good of our community.

Of course, we will continue to publish daily editorials on issues of interest to our readers; we will continue to encourage you to share your opinion through daily Top of the Morning columns and letters to the editor. And we will continue to share editorial opinions on Louisiana and Mississippi politics with the help of distinguished writers such as Bill Minor and Guy Coates.

But some time ago, our Reader Advisory Group members told us they would like to see more opinion on national issues, and we see Raspberry’s change in routine as a good opportunity to evaluate our commentary pages.

Who is your favorite columnist? Are there writers you seek elsewhere whose work you would like to read in The Democrat on a regular basis?

If so, I would appreciate you e-mailing me (todd.carpenter@natchezdemocrat.com), Democrat editor Stacy Graning (stacy.graning@natchezdemocrat.com) or dropping us a note to the address listed on this page with your suggestions.

Todd Carpenter, Democrat publisher, can be reached at 445-3618 or via e-mail, todd.carpenter@natchezdemocrat.com.