To the Editor:

Generally when a person writes a "Letter to the Editor" it is because they are strongly for something or strongly against something. A person is inspired to write because they think the issue is important and hope that their letter published in the Mitchell Daily Republic will inform and maybe persuade others to agree with their opinion - pro or con on some issue of current importance at the local, state or national level.

For this informing and persuading to happen in regard to a current issue important enough for us to spend time writing the letter it must be published in a timely manner. For example, if we write about a bill that is being considered in the State Legislature we would hope that our letters would be published before the legislature voted on the bill. However, my experience in this regard is probably not unique: I have submitted letters that were not published for more than three weeks - because of a backlog of letters waiting to be published.

The problem seems to be lack of space on the Saturday Opinion Page, which is usually the only day of the week that Letters to the Editor are published. The simple solution is to create more space for letters. In my opinion this could be accomplished by eliminating the Saturday Terry Woster column. He already has another weekly column in Wednesday's paper. The new Opinion Page policy should be: All Letters to the Editor should be published no more than one week after they are submitted. This may require letters to be published twice a week.

Maybe people are more apathetic about current issues than I realize, and maybe Facebook, Twitter, and other internet sites of fake news and disinformation have totally devalued traditional print journalism - I hope not. Citizen apathy and fake news, if not publicly debunked, will kill our democracy. So maybe there really aren't enough letters submitted to justify a new policy; if that's the case our nation's democracy may be on its last legs.

Richard Peterson