1/20/10

Letter to the Editor

I visited the online site of my hometown newspaper on Monday, something I rarely do, and I read something there that made my jaw drop and filled me with righteous indignation. I fired off a letter to the editor and was just about to hit the "send" button when I came to my senses. But I have to get this off my chest, so I'm posting the letter here.

A bit of background -- my hometown is in Texas; Texas is having a primary for the gubernatorial election in March; one of the candidates is a Palestinian-American named Farouk Shami. Whom I'd never heard of before Monday, and about which I know nothing at all.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the paper's "Town Talk" section:

The US has over 300 million folks but a mere 545 of them control your lives. . . . They were elected to represent the folks but often the Power of DC makes them forget.

It is often said, “pray for our leaders.” I don’t think they deserve praying for. There are a bunch of people on the planet that need prayers more than the politicians. I think they ought to be praying to keep their jobs and for forgiveness.

*****

Local elections on the ballot in the March 2 primary. Elections are always more interesting when several are running. Regardless of win or lose let’s say thanks to all those who make the decision to give it a go. Go for it and may the best candidates win. (Sorry, cannot bring myself to vote for someone named Farouk).

It was the last sentence there that so outraged me, but I incorporated the first part into my scathing rebuttal, so I wanted to post the whole thing.

Here's my response:

I was appalled to see, in the January 14 Town Talk column, that a reminder to vote in the March 2 primary was followed by the comment: "Sorry, cannot bring myself to vote for someone named Farouk."

It's been twenty years since I left Hometown for college; I don't even live in Texas anymore. Until this morning I didn't know who Farouk Shami was. However, if I were eligible to vote in the primary election, I would base my decision on whether or not to vote for Mr. Shami on his leadership abilities, his political ideology, his vision for Texas, and the content of his character -- not on something as superficial and irrelevant as his last name. I hope that the citizens of Texas have enough respect for the democratic process and for all of the candidates to do the same.

Since leaving Hometown, my political views have become more liberal than those of most of the people of Hometown. I am neither surprised nor bothered to see conservative political opinions voiced in the Hometown Paper.

Your comment, however, was not a political opinion; it was an expression of bigotry. It reflects poorly not only on you, but on all of Hometown, and that is deeply disappointing for this former resident.

It is ironic that the comment was printed in the issue that preceded the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also ironic that, just a few lines above, you wrote that our elected leaders should pray for forgiveness and to keep their own jobs. I suggest that you follow that advice yourself. You may want to throw in a plea for tolerance and understanding while you're at it.


Laid it on a bit thick, didn't I? I mean every word. But I know that little would be accomplished by sending this in; I doubt the author would care much about what I think. But I think it anyway. So there!

5 comments:

aimee said...

You should have sent it. I read the first part of Town Talk the other day and stopped after reading that our leaders don't deserve our prayers. Who is he to say who deserves prayers or not? Well, I know exactly who he is so I am not all that surprised, but saddened that he gets away with comments like that and the one about Farouk.

You really should think about sending it. It may not open his eyes, but it might for some others.

Karen said...

Good letter. I seriously doubt that it would even be published, or if it were, there would be some inane remark about your liberal views.

Chris said...

I say send it anyway. Whether or not it sees print is irrelevant...this asshat needs to know that there are actual people outside of the town that read what he writes, and it has repercussions. Put my name on it for all I care, I'm not scared. I'll roast the guy.

Anonymous said...

"The bigot is like the pupil of the eye, the more light you put upon it, the more it will contract." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Dad

H Noble said...

I hadn't read that one Krista, but my goodness. No, I don't think your letter would make it to print, b/c it clearly calls him out on his narrow view of the world. He is entitled to his opinion but how judgmental and shortsighted to discount someone based on their name alone. I'm not sure Shami is the right candidate for governor, but he has a right to run. And I will be praying for each of the candidates as well, as everyone needs prayers. I believe I'll add Mr. Editor to my list as well. He needs an extra measure.