Saturday, March 25, 2006

about letters

I am a recent blogger. I started in the last six months. I have been reading blogs since they first started showing up. Before I started a blog, I responded to some (still do of course). But before I started blogging, I started writing to the editorial page on my local daily.

I am a private person. Completely introvert. On the Myers-Briggs scale I peg the INFP rating in the INP categories. The F cat being a sex influenced one I out F many if not most females (hint: I am male). So anyway – understand: me <> spotlight. You can look it up INFP

I started writing to the editor on a certain date. Don’t recall it offhand but I can tell you what got to me. It was Abu Graib. It wasn’t what specifically happened AT Abu Graib that did it. I was disgusted by it. At the time it was a hint that it was official policy to allow torture and that pushed me into the ozone. But I didn’t write.

No, what got me was the fact that a grunt came forward to report it. He had to fight his chain of command. To my consternation I can’t find the soldier’s name. HE DESERVES A FREAKIN’ MEDAL. As I recall the guy was being vilified by the Right Wing Noise Machine for being a rat. The Abu Graib shit wasn’t as bad as all that they said. Rush equated it to frat house hijinx. That got to me.

My first letter to the editor said that the guy was a hero. I never dreamed at the time that MY AMERICA would fall so low. It has become a country that condones torture despite its own laws (but then I guess that is true of most of our brethren torturing countries).

I got a call at home after that letter was printed commending me on writing it.

I rarely read the letters to the editor in a newspaper. That is still true. I was surprised that someone did and felt strongly enough to let me know.

Since that time I have written many letters. The Bush Administration provides a wealth of material that will grate on a citizen’s conscience enough to get him to write. I did and do.

You should too.

I sometimes get stopped and told by people how much they appreciate my letters. I have even been commended on my “courage” for writing them. And I guess that is my point.

We have come to a point in our history when it is thought that merely stating one’s opinion on an editorial page is an act of courage. That is sad. I can attest that it isn’t true but I can understand how the poison in our political climate can make it appear so. I don’t know what I would do if real police came for people who wrote letters to the editor (I mean real police not those sent by Bill O’Reilly ).

So, my point – blog if you want but write letters. That is where you live. You will get people who disagree with you but you will get if not more then at least some people that agree. You become the voice for the voiceless and maybe more importantly you add to the critical mass of opinion where it counts – locally. It is only where we live that we can really change anything and we have to win our own backyard before we can wing the nation back.

So write dammit. Ok?

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