Years ago, my parents told me about a wonderful organization called the League of Women Voters. They said the organization believes the freedom to vote is a nonpartisan issue. For more than a century, the League has worked to empower voters and defend democracy. As a result, they believe in forums and debates. They believe it is essential that politicians explain their positions before the general public. It is only when the hard questions are asked, when politicians face the media and their opponents, that the voters are well-served.

It is disturbing that some now suggest that these candidate forums and debates are no longer important. Recently Senator Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat from Royal Oak, suggested that top Michigan Democrats don’t necessarily need to participate in debates this fall. Attorney General Dana Nessel just announced that she will not debate her opponent, Matt DePerno.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proposed dates that are after many Michigan residents have voted by absentee ballot. These are people who say they are concerned about democracy.

There was another politician, Hillary Clinton, who believed that she did not have to face Michigan voters prior to the election. She later regretted that decision.

If our governor and attorney general are not interested in fair, open and honest debates, the only alternative is to debate issues by way of another forum: newspapers. A more modern version is called social media.

So, for the next 70-plus days, I encourage everyone to have their say. Write your editor and tell your fellow citizens what you think.

Since it does not appear that there will be a lot of open and honest debates this fall, possibly our representatives will be willing to respond to some difficult questions proposed in their local newspapers or that appear in social media.

I, for one, will take that opportunity.

—Ronald W. Rickard,
Imlay City