News, snooze … the real action’s in the letters to the editor
There are three critical elements to a good, asexual morning. One is waking up naturally, without the rude klaxon of an alarm clock. I tend to wake around 6 a.m. regardless, but there’s a world of difference to opening my eyes to the rhythm of the day instead of the harsh discipline of an alarm, reminding me that my day will belong to someone else. Coffee, fresh, hot, black, no liquefied candy or frothy flavors added, is vital. But the last piece of a good morning is the most random these days, and that’s something interesting to read in the newspaper. The news itself rarely provides that.Oh, there’s plenty going on, but other than the details of the latest tragedy or natural disaster, most of what passes for news is dreadfully predictable. Sports? If you watched yesterday’s Rockies game or the World Cup, that’s fine, but reading about the game after it’s over? That’s akin to reading in the financial pages about the investment you should have made, or reading yesterday’s classifieds to find the job that’s already been filled. It’s OBE – overcome by events.When I read the newspaper, one of my first stops is the opinion page and the letters to the editor. My hat’s off to those of you who write them, to be read by every idiot and his brother, both of whom will feel free to call you an idiot.
Sometimes, let’s be honest, you really are an idiot, but that’s the beauty of the “opinion” section. Opinions can’t be right or wrong, although it can be weak or strong, substantiated by fact and circumstance or based on no more than moonbeams and sunspots. Hopefully, a daily dose of the opinions of others will make your own more logical and internally consistent, but that depends on others, not just columnists, expressing their opinions, and so it’s a happy morning for me to find lots of letters to the editor, and a sorry one when there are none, for while the news may be predictable, that doesn’t mean it’s without controversy. For example, should public classrooms have Bibles? They should not simply because the Gideons are willing to pay for them, and they shouldn’t be in classrooms to prove a point about the First Amendment, or because the Bible is an important book. By that rationale, copies of Mein Kampf which the National Socialist Party a.k.a. the Nazis would be happy to provide, should be in every classroom as well. The books are free, written by one of the most influential figures of modern times, and the free speech requirement of not judging right or wrong, of freely expressing an opinion, is met.
But that’s not enough. To make sense of either book, students need context and contrast, so enter the members of the school board. This issue is not cut and dry, it’s very much up to the judgment of the men and women who volunteer to make those decisions on behalf of county residents, and not just current parents. Keep those cards and letters to the editor coming, just be sure and shoot a copy to the school board as well. Or perhaps you’re involved with the Summit Foundation. Should the executive director have been removed? That’s none of our business; that’s a personnel issue, between employer and employee, and a personal issue as well for incumbent so let’s leave it at that. What’s worth a letter to the editor is the direction of the Foundation as our self-styled agent for raising and distributing Summit County’s largesse. I’ve always thought that anyone who’s been doing anything for 10 years or more should move on, including members of Congress and executive directors of foundations. In the case of the Summit Foundation, is the same money from the same donors going to the same recipients year after year? Perhaps the Foundation itself is the obstacle to new directions and new funding because new donors are prejudiced against it as a result of past practice, and new directions require a five year history?
No one has the right answer, but you have an opinion, on Bibles, on the Summit Foundation, on allowing roads in roadless areas, on drug use and abuse, and just what does it take to be an American in a land awash in illegal immigrants. Please, make my day. Write a letter to the editor this very morning. Marc Carlisle writes a Thursday column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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