I deeply appreciate you.
Last week we spoke of what I called the “Attempted intimidation of average Americans” and I must have struck a positive chord. Thank you. I have never received so many positive comments and email. All positive and supportive with one exception. I did receive one email telling me in no uncertain terms that my column was divisive and polarizing, while the most common message was “thank you for saying what most of us are feeling.”
Agree or not, I always appreciate your input,
The truth is that most of us are tired of the anger and vitriol. We are sick of the aggression and intimidation and we really should not have to tolerate it. Fighting anger with anger or violence with violence only perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. Let’s not go there.
We, the silent majority, must model the behavior we wish to see from others. We must hold hands and refuse to give in to those who push the intimidation. One who does not try to hide her intent is Congresswoman Maxine Waters from California who can be seen on numerous YouTube videos encouraging her followers to “get in the face” of those she disagrees with. She openly says if you run into a member of the current administration in a public place to harass them. I’m sorry Congresswoman, but this is not the America I grew up in and not the America I want to leave to my grandchildren. To be fair, I equally despise many of the tweets and sentiments expressed by our President.
I am appealing for civility from both sides.
I encourage all of us to be the opposite. Always be kind, friendly and never threatening. And remember those who preach hate, harassment and violence when you go to the ballot box. We must model the love and tolerance.
I do love to hear from you. My two recent columns on country music is still generating many comments and email coming in. The adage that today's newspaper is tomorrow's lining for the bird cage doesn’t always hold true. I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader referencing a column I wrote almost three years ago. She said she cut it out and always intended to write me, then finally did. I had to go back and dig up the old column so I understood what she was talking about.
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The column response that surprised me the most was titled “Meeting Andy Lancaster.” It was published two and a half years ago. It was a story about a young soldier from Stockton, Illinois, who was killed in Iraq. I accidentally ran across his funeral while traveling and was overwhelmed by the grief of his small town. From that column, I received email from all over the world. On the internet, you can find anything, including my column. That one, for some reason, generated international responses. And I understand. I still carry that day and chance meeting with a fallen soldier with me.
The most heartfelt responses I have ever received were the two columns I posted about the passing of our dogs. The mail was so kind and supportive. Many readers shared information about the passing of their pets. The response was consoling, and I am grateful.
As an author and columnist, I never know if what I am going to write will connect with readers. I’m occasionally surprised when a column that I didn’t expect to generate responses does — or when a column I expected to connect does not. I write what I think and feel and its hard to judge response. I read every letter and always respond, so please feel free to write.
It is interesting to see the letter-writing style and how it is changing. Baby Boomers still write somewhat formally, beginning with a salutation Dear Gary, or just Gary. But as the responders decrease in age, the emails look more like texts — short little blurbs with no traditional “Dear” or “Sincerely.” They rarely include their name. Just a blurb of words expressing what it is they want to say. I do believe we are experiencing a loss of eloquence in writing. I think both texting and Twitter, for good or not, is changing the way we write and communicate with each other. Words are words, but with these short and direct messages it is often difficult to interpret the mood of the writer.
Oh, and I should note that I do get the occasional handwritten letter in the mail. Those are always sent to the newspaper but addressed to me. I’ve yet to receive a telegram or a smoke signal, so I guess those days are gone forever.
Regardless of the method, I deeply appreciate your communication. You can always reach me at my easy to remember email address: email@example.com.
Warmest regards, Gary.