In pondering a subject for today’s column, the state of our country (yours and mine), our actual history (not reconstructed) and our future was unavoidable. I’m recalling those who built our country with so much positivity and forward thinking. In contrast, it’s hard to ignore the multitude of modern-day Americans who put forward such negative attitudes while dwelling on past sins — as though nothing our country’s done has made the world a better place. As recently as the Obama administration, we’ve heard people say we need to keep moving forward. Today, people of Obama’s political persuasion can’t leave the past behind. The critical race theory (CRT) does just that — dwells upon past sins.
After my last column, four readers responded with letters to the editor. One of them was thoughtful. The other three not so much. None, however, while seemingly taking exception to my thoughts on CRT addressed that subject. Three of the four letters engaged only in attempted personally demeaning remarks.
The first one began with a false statement apparently based upon an assumption. I’ve never written that “all [leftists] are Marxists...” I assiduously endeavor to avoid the use of all-inclusive words such as all, never and always. I would challenge this writer to provide evidence of his claim. He spent the rest of his discourse attempting to belittle and discussing a Snoopy comic strip.
The second gentleman was more thoughtful. He attempted no personal criticism. Although he referred to comments in the column, he took them in a different direction — concentrating on income, Social Security and pensions. Without addressing the subject of the column (CRT and its shortcomings), he discussed his first job, education, his work after college and Social Security. He wrote, “If Mr. Blatchford thinks everything is equal [with blacks and whites] …” Now that’s a thought that I’ve never considered — ever. I’m a strong advocate for equal opportunity for all, but we must be careful with the word “opportunity.” I do not support the idea that there should be equal outcomes for all. There’s a huge difference. Generally, his issue was financial security. Lastly, he asked if I am “willing to swap places with the Black people [my] age?” Wow! That’s a whole other conversation which I’d be willing to have with him elsewhere. For here? I won’t say yes, I won’t say no and I won’t say maybe.
Writer No. 3 attempted the personal criticism route and did not address anything addressed in my column. He also resorted to falsehood. He stated that I like “to write that all Democrats carry the writings of Saul Alinsky in their pockets.” Words I’ve neither uttered nor written — although he employed Alinsky’s Rule #5 with that statement. He had no relevant comments about my opinions on CRT.
Critic No. 4 was my favorite. He claimed to be a “former academic.” As such, he leveled a number of vague, personal criticisms at me without once mentioning anything addressed in my column. He made general statements attempting to demean without providing even one example. So much for alleged education and credentials. Unsupported arguments, even in high school debates, warrant failing grades.
OK, folks, I’m done. (Big winky face here.) The objective in this column is to challenge those who resort to personal criticism to do better. Three of the four letters published had virtually nothing to do with what was written. The authors simply didn’t like what I wrote, and (apparently) had no valid or cogent argument with which to oppose so they got personal. As a result, their comments were highly irrelevant.
I have encountered a few readers who enjoy a good, fair back and forth. They’ve contacted me directly and politely. They’ve taken exception with my thoughts and wish to have a “discussion.” I’ve traded emails with a handful of such readers and enjoyed the exchanges. Sadly, such experiences have been few and far between. In truth and in fact, I have little patience with those who resort to personal, fallacious attacks while abandoning relevance.
My wish for those formerly known as the loyal opposition is that they regain that lofty title by making a valiant effort to keep their arguments relevant, on topic and respectful. Otherwise, as we used to say, they’re just blowin’ smoke. We hope that you’re capable of better.
By the way, today is Juneteenth. The celebration of an event not duplicated by any other country in the world.
Rick Blatchford has written from Mount Airy. He can still be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.