Wednesday, March 03, 2021

An actual lesson in local civility

| February 17, 2021 1:00 AM

One of these things was not like the others.

Going through the digital pile of letters to the editor last Friday, a certain subject line stood out.

"What the Actual F," it said.

Credit for catchy and concise.

Inside the email was this sentiment, expressed by Heather D.:

"What is wrong with you?! Why would you publish that letter, IDEAL WOMAN: Look into the '50s? What were you trying to accomplish with this?

"Your newspaper is garbage, and this was a garbage thing to publish."

To be clear, we published the letter because, as backwards or shortsighted as the thinking might have been, it was non-threatening, it wasn't libelous and it wasn't too long.

If there was a motive in publishing the rather unorthodox views expressed in the letter, it was to invite discussion on a subject that did not die when Ozzie and Harriet went to TV heaven.

Mission accomplished.

While Heather, as some people have been wont to do since messengers first became fine targets, blamed the newspaper for allowing someone to express an unpopular opinion, others grasped the opportunity to actually talk about it and try to raise awareness. They were more intent on making their side understood and maybe even increasing compassion, not on clipping Hermes' wee wings and using them to fan a fevered brow.

We invite you to read some of those letters in today's offering. If you're so moved, please feel free to write one yourself. That way we can carry our communication forward in a more constructive direction, one that could lead to gradual but important change.

While catchy, What the Actual F is not an ideal way to start a conversation.