Even the most stoic of us can bristle under criticism, but we shouldn’t be ashamed of that — it’s simply human.
Sometimes that criticism is based on fact. Other times, it’s simply an opinion, whether it’s fair or not.
But it all stems from the fact that we are all imperfect — once again, a simple human quality.
When we raise our voices, whether it be as a community leader or through an outlet designed to share information like a newspaper, we open ourselves up to a higher level of criticism than we might be comfortable with.
That’s simply the nature of our society. The First Amendment grants us near absolute freedom of speech when it comes to the government, but it doesn’t grant us freedom from rebuttal. The more public our voices or our actions, the louder responses might be.
Still, even for the most disciplined — like our elected officials — it can’t always be easy. People are more inclined to complain than they are to compliment, which is sad, but one last time, still quite human.
Sen. Jeff Klein was upset over words found in this space that criticized past actions that separated him from the Democrats in the state senate and allowed him to form a coalition with Republicans. Obviously, the senator feels the best way he can represent his constituents is by taking this action — and that is his decision to make, with the support of a majority of those who head to the polls.
But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to criticism, even if that criticism is simply an opinion — or as he described it last week, a “biased” opinion.
Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are out to get you. They simply disagree, and it doesn’t hurt to just listen. In the end, you might still disagree, but that’s OK.
Whenever a critic hits a tennis ball over the net, Klein volleys it back with a cannon. Klein has served his constituents for more than 22 years. We all know that he’s done good things for the community, and that should be celebrated.
But Klein needs to admit he’s done things that aren’t so popular, too. And those same constituents have the right to speak out against it.
Klein absolutely should respond to that criticism, and those critics should listen. But that response should include empathy, not conspiracy theories and accusations.
Winston Churchill once said that “criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Listen to that criticism, Sen. Klein. And remember, it’s just human.