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Opinion: Voice your opinion — but do it respectfully

As residents gear up for the big community forum on Thursday with Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea officials, we wanted to offer a few words about the value of respectful dialogue.

Whether you are for or against the changes the hospital system has proposed — which includes moving most inpatient services to the Austin campus — we ask that residents be thoughtful in your comments and actions. This is a time to get much-deserved answers to questions lingering about the changes, and everyone deserves a fair chance — not only at asking these questions, but in hearing the answers to these questions as well.

Though being respectful doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll achieve your goal, it will make it more likely for the person on the opposing side to listen.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean shying away — it is crucial for Mayo officials to understand residents’ concerns and questions. We just encourage that to happen without personal attacks and hostility.

We hope to see a full-house crowd at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Albert Lea high school auditorium.