Letters to the Editor

Dona Nobis Pacem

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen“. Ephesians 4:29

Meditations in Motion

I was reading the local newspaper this week and I did something I vowed I would never do again: I read the letters to the editor.

The “Letters” section used to be one of my favorites, years ago. I like to hear both sides of an argument so I can decide for myself which has more merit. There were some well-written letters back then, many of them from one very prolific woman who had an opinion on just about everything, or so it seemed.

There were some letters from writers with far-flung ideas to be sure, but mostly the letters were thoughtful, made good points, and I could learn from them, even if I disagreed with the writer’s point of view.

Then something changed.

It was subtle at first, the vitriol that slipped in. It wasn’t in every letter and even when it was there, it was mostly an add-on, almost an afterthought, a snarky little comment tacked on at the end to shoot a tiny but stinging well-placed arrow at the writer’s opponents.

Then it grew. And spread.

Eventually, there was no contemplative posting of well-researched positions. There was only hate and poison. Writers insinuated, then came right out and stated, that anyone who does not share the same views as they must be morally bankrupt.

And I stopped reading the “Letters” section.

There is little civil discourse anymore, little thoughtful discussion, there are only bumper sticker slogans thrown around, someone else’s clever catchphrase that makes us feel self-satisfied when we use it at the expense of others.

Oh, I will engage in a political debate, especially a written one, where I have time to try out my arguments and craft my replies. I am that person who, when engaged in verbal wrangling, will always think of the killer response five minutes too late. As my husband of 41 years knows, I have no problem with discussions, even contentious ones.

But don’t call me names to make your point. Don’t assume that I must be your intellectual and ethical inferior because I don’t agree with you. Don’t sneer at me from your high horse.

The same self-righteous attitude that permeates social media has seeped into our editorial page, so I stopped reading.

I have tried to block influences that make me the worst version of myself. If I don’t hold my emotions in check, I tend towards cynicism and suspicion. I scoff, I mock, I am sardonic. My natural inclination toward playing the martyr takes over and I am easily offended.

That is not the person I want to be, so I try to avoid anything that triggers those responses.

I get to choose what impacts my state of mind. If I read letters dripping with contempt, I am giving the writer the power to affect me in a negative way and I choose not to give someone filled with animosity that ability.

I believe the resentment and enmity we feel towards those with views different from our own is not a coincidence. I think the seeds of hate have been deliberately sown by those who would control us.

If we are too busy pointing fingers at each other, we are oblivious to the real problems affecting our country and our world, the poverty, injustice, greed, bigotry, and everlasting strife which have become commonplace.

Let’s take a step away from behavior and language that denigrates those with views different from our own. Let’s progress beyond trite slogans and disparaging memes.

My goal is to cast seeds of kindness and mutual respect far and wide in the hope they will sprout and bear fruit. This post is the first seed. I will be looking for other opportunities. Maybe I will write a letter to the editor.

Meditations in Motion

I am Blogging for Peace on November 4 and you can too. To find out how, please click here.

 

I am linking with Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, My Random Musings for Anything Goes, Esme Salon for Senior Salon, Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, and Denyse Whelan Blogs for Life This Week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

73 comments

  1. “we are oblivious to the real problems affecting our country and our world, the poverty, injustice, greed, bigotry”

    1st, I agree 100%. But also, I feel like this sentence is picking sides. It has all the hallmarks of liberal snowflakery, Of course it appeals to me, but it will undoubtedly draw eye-rolls and disdain from the other side. I read a news site called Newser, and for kicks, I read the comments section sometimes after the most innocuous articles. *Any* topic and people people find a way to denigrate the other side. From my biased perspective it’s always the right picking fights, but I’m sure it goes both ways.

    How do you blog for peace?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I think the seeds of hate have been deliberately sown by those who would control us”

    BINGO! You have expressed the very reason why I stopped watching television and paying attention to debates and politics steeped in extremism and partisanship. Life is too short. I used to love reading letters to the editors too and now instead, I read blog comments on all kinds of platforms. If it descends into petty personal attacks, I walk away.

    If we are busy tearing each other apart, we stop paying attention to the puppets and those who pull the strings, the puppet masters. The last thing that the elites want to see is a unified populace, so we are being bombarded with propaganda overload to keep us off center, dazed and confused. It is on all sides not just one. We are constantly told we are bigoted and racist when as a whole we really are not. Women are told that men are bad and not to be trusted, and that contributes to the breakdown of the family and healthy, happy relationships. So take a cue from your own soul and your own relationship with a Higher Power and don’t be told how to think.

    So I say NO and refuse to participate. Love your neighbor, love yourself, cultivate right livelihood, right speech and deeds… and God takes care of the rest. And of course there is always the Serenity Prayer”—

    God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference

    Like you, I will choose to sow seeds of peace when and wherever I can . Will I slip? Sure I will, but I will get up and try again until I drop dead. If others, and those in the limelight, make different choices, I will give them no energy or attention and I will stay my own course.

    One of the reasons I started my blog is to share how I maintain serenity and sanity in a world that seems to the naked eye, so upside down! And I started by… turning off TV 😁

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you, Susan. I look to your posts for a dose of positivity and peace. Thank you for being a source of light, rather than darkness. We all slip up now and then, but the best we can do is to pick ourselves up, make ammends if possible, and try again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And I read your posts to get inspired, too! Boy you hit the nail on the head – that is one of my personal sayings “be a source of light in the world, vs darkness”. Great minds think alike!

        Bless you,

        Susan Grace

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “I think the seeds of hate have been deliberately sown by those who would control us.”
    Truer words were never spoken, Laurie, and the anonymity of social media makes it the perfect storm to attack any opposing views. I try to stay away from all things political on my blog, but my last poem? Well, I think the writing is on the wall, so to speak.
    We must never lose sight of the fact that we are one nation, under God, and our Founding Fathers wanted We the People to be the government. The self-appointed ruling class is unwanted and, ultimately, crippling to the democratic process. I’m praying that God will winnow the wheat from the chaff, and we can continue to be His nation, filled with love for one another instead of hate and weaponized words.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting Laurie – I did not know about this site … I just checked it out. So it is already in its fourth year. I was late getting here tonight or could have tried to get a post done with this theme. We live in such an age where people hide behind their profile pics which are not themselves, but fake names and fake bios, so that they can spew that vitriol … makes them feel big, important – like they are right. Since I don’t have cable and watch no TV, and subscribe to no newspapers, I must get all my news on the internet. The online news publishes stories and the comments begin okay, i.e. tame and cordial enough, but as they progress, it becomes a verbal volleyball, each comment worse than the last … I rarely bother to read comments anymore as I’m filled with disgust most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, for some reason people feel as though it’s ok to post on social media things they would never say to your face. This post was sparked by a really nasty meme a friend posted on FB. I follow mostly runners on Twitter, so the tone is much more civil – no political posts from that group!

      Liked by 1 person

      • They hide behind their names, (real or not), and profile photos and spew vitriol everywhere. They are brave behind the mask, but it stops there. Twitter is a lot more civilized – I agree with you Laurie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That makes sense Laurie – people get stirred up pretty quickly in the comments section. I sometimes find them an interesting read, like the last day of Amber Guyger’s trial for killing her neighbor Botham Jean, and, while the jury was deliberating, I was reading several hundred comments speculating on the outcome … they were not malicious in the least which surprised me; everyone stating their point of view and playing detective on why she would not have seen that red rug at his apartment door – she was not attentive, etc., where others, of course, defended that she was coming off a double shift; others disparaged her as she was texting messages to her married partner whom she was involved with. Those comments were not as nasty as some which likely are “bots” placed there to stir up the masses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t pay close attention to that trial. So sad! My sons sometimes get involved in political discussions in FB and I wonder why??? You are never going to convince anyone of your point of view through a FB discussion. It seems like an exercise in futility.

        Like

      • I think the trial was the tail end of your Spain trip and then you were in SC with your friends. I didn’t participate in the commenting, but the comments were tame compared to what I see sometimes, especially political discussions. People didn’t think much of her though. The most-interesting part of this trial aftermath was at the sentencing hearing. The deceased’s brother gave his victim impact statement and then asked the judge for permission to give her a hug and they clutched one another for a really long time. He said he forgave her. It was emotional:
        https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2019/10/02/botham-jean-brother-hug-amber-guyger-court-vpx.cnn
        Also the Judge gave her a Bible – not customary to do this either.

        Political stories – well, I don’t comment on those either as I’m not a citizens (don’t want someone telling me to go home where I belong). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. If you write a letter to the editor, let us know! Otherwise I will miss it, as I put the opinion section in the recycling bag unread. Life is happier that way.
    I now handle that section of the paper as if it had been used to wrap week old fish.
    I’m trying to devote my time to more positive things. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually emailed the opinion editor and asked if I could write an op-ed. If the answer is no, I will submit it as a letter to the editor. My idea is to issue a challenge to LNP to refrain from posting hate for a week/month/year/forever!

      Like

  6. Lovely post dear 😀.

    Yesterday I commented on a post that got under my skin but I didn’t go off half cocked like I use to I thought about it then made a sival straight forward comment, then today I had to reply to that person I think I did a good job of stating facts and staying calm in hoppse my words may do a little good.
    If someone wants to have a bitch fest with me I can do that but I’m learning more and more to use my words in a civil way to try and spread peace and love for those who are different because that’s just the right thing to do.

    If people would get off their moral high horse they would see such beautiful people right in front of them !!!

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Dawn. I have no problem with people having a discussion about events in the news. It’s the people spewing hate I can’t stand. This was all sparked by a friend posting a very hurtful meme on FB. My own little protest! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exsacly Laurie, the hate speech needs to stop, I get sooo anoyed at the lying ignorant bigoted hate speech article by people that have no clue what their talking about.
        Sorry to hear that dear, WP may not seam that big but it really is huge all over the world so hopefully your post will do a little good in the world. 😀

        ❤️✌️
        BY FOR NOW

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, I think you have written your letter, just post it to him/her. Great points, so well made. It really is awful this poisoning of discourse. So adolescent. And fuelled by media, with little interest in reasoned debate, but every desire for contentious viewpoints to flash and rage, so ultimately ratings are high. What it’s all about. Cynical, moi?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did actually write a letter to the editor and asked if I could write an op-ed column too. Thank you, Enda. Cynicism is a natural response to events (or attitudes) we can’t control. This thought was sparked by a friend posting a really evil meme to FB. I got very upset. My own little protest.

      Like

  8. I agree with you on the letters to the editor and other similar public forums (fora). We need to get back to understanding that just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t make them Satan. Or mentally ill or stupid. A bit of humility and a bit of assuming good intent can go a long way!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I so agree. I cant get over how angry public discourse has become. We dont have time for it. We have a planet and a future to save. I love your sunflowers’ message: Plant Kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe you need to write that letter to the editor. A sound and decent word from a heart of good intent (to paraphrase Ephesians) can never be silenced. Once it’s spoken the effect is accomplished.

    Thank you for blogging for peace with us today.
    Mimi

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “I believe the resentment and enmity we feel towards those with views different from our own is not a coincidence. I think the seeds of hate have been deliberately sown by those who would control us.” — I couldn’t agree with you more, Laurie. And like you, I refuse to participate in the vitriol. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We do get to choose! What an important reminder. I especially loved this: “I have tried to block influences that make me the worst version of myself.” This is what I need to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The way hatred and nasty comments are so prevalent in so many areas of life is a real worry. The UK Parliament is a case in point among many. Individuals can make a difference though – we have to believe that #AnythingGoes

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I used to enjoy reading the Letters to the Editor too. But I haven’t gotten a newspaper for several years so I can’t read them anymore. But it sounds like it’s for the best. 😦 Reading social media can be just as bad for my soul at times when there are so many poison words out there shooting darts. May we remember to use our words gently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am lucky on Twitter. Most of the people I follow are runners and the comments are almost always positive and encouraging. Same with the Christian community in blogging. FB and the letters to the editor are another story! We do need to use kinder, gentler words with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I understand what you’re saying here Laurie and commend you for putting it into words. I have noticed the same sorts of things happening here in Australia and the awful comments that people post to stories, posts, anything really – is just so dreadful to see. I know everyone has the right to their opinion but it seems to be getting nastier and more personal than ever before. I think that’s why I love blogging so much, I’m reading posts I want to read and interact with and am happy in my own (personal fairytale) world, rather than get upset at news stories and awful people. Well done! #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never thought about that Deb, in blogging we do get to interact with bloggers we WANT to read. I didn’t realize the animosity has spread to Australia too. So disheartening! It must be a worldwide phenomenon. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. How lovely of you to link up on my blog for Life this Week. I am an avid letter reader (in the real paper) and that, for now, continues in a reasonable way. As for the internet and the “discussion” it’s become war-like and very divisive. I am less interested in what is going on in our country as we are led by a very right wing hillsong church advocate who likes Trump?? Anyway, blogs make great reading and I will continue there. Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is 45/51 Share Your Snaps #9 11/11/19…the second LAST for 2019 (where did that year go!) Hope to see you there. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. There’s been a ruckus in the news in Aus of late about a cartoon posted by a respected cartoonist that has people so up in arms that the vitriol is disgusting. I read an opinion piece written by the cartoonist’s son yesterday that mentioned how even some of his friends – who had always gotten on well with his father – thought it okay to join in on the social media rants. I also used to like the letters (and still read the ones to Traveller in the weekend lift outs) but I don’t want to read judgmental pieces and I don’t want to read hate. It’s why I follow the blogs I do. As my mother always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…or talk about the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just don’t understand where all the hate is coming from. Social media is the worst. Luckily, I follow mostly runners on Twitter and they are a positive bunch. FB is a different story, though. People feel entitled to trample over anyone’s feelings along with the truth!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Laurie, I’ve never been on Facebook, and what you’ve written about is largely why. It boggles my mind how easily people post verbiage online that they would never in a million years say to someone’s face. I guess the only thing we can do is exactly what you are doing … look for ways to practice Ephesians 4:29 whenever we can. Good luck with the letter to the editor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do see a lot of negative comments on FB, but on Twitter, most of the people I follow are either Christian bloggers or runners. Both of these groups are very positive, encouraging people. No negativity there. I did write the letter and sent it in. Gulp!

      Like

  19. It seems to be everywhere these days … the vitriol and hate. Why is it so I wonder? I think social media has not helped as people say/type things they never would say face to face because of the feeling of anonymity. For this reason i don’t read the letters to the editor anymore either, nor do I read comments on online news articles (oh they are dreadful!!) or a lot of what goes on in the comments on posts on FB or other social media. Best to protect ourselves from such horrible hateful human behaviour! #TeamLovinLife

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You really hit the nail on the head with this post. I do not like physical confrontation but our world has taken it to a new level by hitting below the belt with our words. I pray we look for the kindest way to discuss opinions instead of the easiest and cruelest way.

    Liked by 1 person

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