Blatchford: English-only, descriptors as name-calling, Trump hatred — taking inspiration from letter writers

Column writing has once again proven that planning ahead can result in frustration. Who’da thunk it? Thus far, without editing, over 1,500 words (well over the limit) with potential thoughts have been compiled regarding why wars go on forever these days. It’s likely that subject will be picked up down the road. At any rate, last Friday’s opinion page captured my attention with three letters to the editor.

First, the “stain” on Carroll County (aka the English-only ordinance). In 2013 the presiding county commissioners passed, without major citizen objection, an ordinance codifying the fact that English (the generally accepted, prevailing language in the entire U.S. of A.) is to be considered the official language of the county — for county business purposes. Commissioner Dennis Frazier (District 3) wants to repeal it.


A Times article (Jan. 9) further mentioned that Frazier indicated the 2013 ordinance “has ‘tarnished’ the way Carroll looks to outsiders…” The “stain” he referred to isn’t well publicized. I’ve neither heard nor read of the alleged objections – anyone else? By now I’ve become inured to politicians who just say stuff without explicit examples to back them up. Such seems a common practice these days. Perhaps Frazier will provide us with specific verifiable examples of the objections and the objectors. Again, the ordinance applies to the county government and not the private sector.

I understand (from a radio report) that Frazier said the ordinance has not saved the county taxpayers any significant dollars. I won’t comment on that except to say that if the English-only ordinance is rescinded, the county will spend significantly more dollars in reprinting official forms in an unknown number of languages, paying for duplicate public notices in the media in various languages, paying for translators, etc., etc., etc. A “stain” is not created by acting in a manner that encourages immigrants to assimilate into the country in which they’ve chosen to live. They will benefit from the encouragement – as will we as their neighbors.

Next a lady wrote to understandably voice her objection to the frequent name calling that occurs between opposing groups these days. I agreed and read on. To my utter surprise, she identified specific objectionable words. They were “leftist,” “liberal,” and “socialist.” She went on to say, “…heaven forbid if one has committed the sin of being a Democrat.”

Now I’m a conservative. Yup, I can say it. Not so long ago, the world was full of liberals and conservatives and most had little or no concern with those descriptors. I’m aware that at some point, those (pardon me) on the left decided that “liberal” carried a negative connotation. They then came to prefer “progressive.” The writer didn’t mention “progressive,” so maybe we’re still safe with that one.

I’m left to conclude that I, personally, have unintentionally offended this lady as I’ve frequently used all the words she finds offensive. Name calling is the furthest thing from my mind when using them. To me, it’s simply what they represent — just as conservative describes me — without objection.

I can’t imagine her reaction should anyone call her things that I and my fellow conservatives have been called over the years. How about Nazi, racist, Fascist, hypocrite, inferior, etc. The term “gun toting Christian” is seldom uttered as a term of endearment. I could go on, but I’ll simply invite her to walk in my shoes a while.

A sentence from Shakespeare comes to mind. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” To paraphrase, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

Another letter writer chimed in to complain about another letter writer who writes almost monthly with what can only be described as vitriolic hatred for President Trump. He writes as though the president has absolutely no redeeming qualities — not one. Prior to Trump’s election, his targets had been conservatives in general. His subject/tone seldom changes. We get it.

Years ago, before becoming a columnist, I wrote a letter to the editor about this man. I publicly suggested that he needed to “take a conservative to lunch” — hopefully to reduce his level of animosity. I have no idea if he ever followed up on the suggestion, but I suspect that if he did, he probably devoured an unsuspecting conservative and was left with indigestion.

Well, regardless, I found all three letters last Friday of interest even if one of them left me befuddled.

Rick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy. His column appears every other Saturday. Email him at rpblatch4d@comcast.net.