As an extraordinarily overpaid columnist for the Business Times, every so often I receive a note from someone —outside of my avid seven or eight readers who send me things — who happens upon my column. Please note that when I receive reader feedback, I always take the time to actually read the comments I receive and then simply respond back to the sender a quick note of “thanks for your feedback and reading.”
I don’t know what it is about this particular letter I received about my last column that has found it still stuck in my craw, but there it sits. Normally, I just let letters go, even while being called much worse and with harsher language. But to remove any reader confusion, I’ve decided to share this one. Maybe it’s because it deserved a much greater, in-kind response. So I’ll let you be the judge as I try some extra word therapy to alleviate its lingering effect. Here’s the letter with my thoughts on each paragraph. Please forgive me if I seem snarky. I am.
Dear Mr. Castle:
I am a newcomer to Grand Junction and the Grand Valley. To date I have enjoyed the surroundings and the friendliness of the folks I have met here. A lovely community.
Obviously, there are nice people in this lovely community.
Which is why I do not understand Mr. Hall’s column. What is he raving about? And why does he not check his facts before he writes?
So…. Mr. Hall is not lovely or nice, particularly when he’s raving? No matter, let’s change the subject to show he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, which somehow proves his not-nice-unloveliness? Anyway … For the record, as the highest paid and most senior columnist at the paper, the real answer is: “Whatever in the heck I darned well please. It’s my column.” Which in this case was our elected betters caring little for what we think, only what they’d like to do — while citing many examples. I hope that helps.
The year 1787 was the year of the constitutional convention. The Constitution didn’t go into effect until 1789, after it had been ratified by nine states. 1789 was the year in which George Washington became the first president of the United States, again under the Constitution; which just happened to give Mr. Hall freedom of speech and freedom of the press, two freedoms he takes full advantage of.
This is what my old boss used to call picking the fly poop out of the pepper. For those that have read me over the years, the reference to 1787 is something I’ve used time and again. Just as we don’t celebrate Independence Day on the day the Revolutionary War ended but rather on July 4 (with no arguments), I likewise use the date the Constitution was penned. And, of course, I take full advantage of my unalienable, individual rights. The problem today is that unalienable is alien to many people.
Mr. Hall, when he says he cares only about his freedom, gives the reader an inkling of his true thinking. Free in 1787? Only if you were a white male. According to the 1790 census, 20 percent of the population were free white males over 16 years of age, another 20 percent free white males under 16 years of age. Forty percent were white females, who at that time did not have the vote. Eighteen percent were slaves. So more than half the population were not free in our sense of the word. But since Mr. Hall is only interested in his freedom. why does he care? His picture does look like a white male over 16 years of age.
Actually, these are commenter’s true feelings coming to light. I’m a white male, so…..something or other, but it’s bad. For clarity I wrote “….I do this in the interest of the only freedom that truly matters to me: MINE. Oh, I care about yours. I really do. I want you to be as free as we all were in 1787.” In other words, I’m about freedom and our individual rights from the Constitution — and why he’s arguing dates and not ideas.
A lot of people of both sexes and all colors and religions have served and many were hurt or died to ensure all in our country can enjoy freedom and a chance to rise to whatever level they can achieve. I realize we still have not achieved all we hope to, and it would appear that if Mr. Hall has his way, we will not.
I would have simply written here “Thanks for your service” if not for the last jab. Then again, it proves the reader did not “check his facts” about me before writing. I’ve never advocated anything but success while demanding equal rights for all.
I noticed, too, that your publication does not seem to have a letters to the editor area. I may have missed that, though I did look hard. If not, please do show this to Mr. Hall. As a veteran and the son of immigrants, I am sensitive to opinions such as his.
Well, Mr. Reader, my contact info is printed at the end of every column. And now I’ve read my reader’s note, published it and responded. — all while adhering to constitutional sensitivity rights.
And from the white, male, Christian, offspring of immigrants: Thanks for your service.