The recent unraveling of the allegations by Jussie Smollett is an example of where the mainstream media has rushed to judge and report “news” before all facts were substantiated. Unfortunately, this has become the norm in our fast-paced news cycle and the age of social media begging.

Not so long ago, the news was reported as factual and not spun to fit a certain narrative, be it right or left. Opinion was labeled as opinion and not as unsubstantiated “Breaking News.” In addition, those who distorted the facts to fit their personal narrative, or failed to uphold the standard of professional journalism, were held accountable. Sometimes they still are.

This rush to judgment occurs not only at the national level but here in the valley. It is clear from reading Facebook posts that many are quick to judge. For example, in a Jan. 28 letter to the editor, I stated: “I can’t understand why many residents of the valley literally hate President Trump. Disagree yes, and I disagree with him as well, but hate?” Within hours I was branded on social media as a “bigot,” “living in a cave” and “pandering to Trump.” This, after I stated I don’t agree with all aspects of Trump’s behavior. I was dismayed to be the object of judgment and reaction without the benefit of a moment’s thought.

As we approach the next election, we owe it to all candidates to listen to them. The democracy our Founding Fathers envisioned is based on compromise. The Constitution is itself a compromise, because delegates had to give and take on numerous key points to be acceptable to each of the 13 states. Imagine the disaster that a “New Constitutional Convention” would be in today’s partisan and hate-driven environment.

It is clear that many have abdicated their responsibility as citizens to consider facts from both sides of the aisle, sort them out, and then make an informed decision. If a democracy is to thrive, it requires enlightened citizens capable of independent thought and the ability to make informed decisions, not based on blind allegiance. Please, let’s stop rushing to judgment.

James R. Poplar III, Quicksburg