Sunday, November 16, 2008

Long Range Missives

In yesterday’s Watertown Daily Times, in the Letters from the People section, Peter Graves of Arlington, Virginia condemns Vice President-elect Joe Biden for a gaffe he made while on the campaign trail.

Peter, we understand you’re sour about the election results, but look on the bright side, you’re from Virginia, and according to the new electoral map, just go west, young man, and you’ll be in Kentucky, surrounded by angry McCain/Palin mobs to commiserate with.

Why is someone from Virginia using our local newspaper to dredge up an old Biden gaffe, apparently wanting to rub our noses in it? (It was an innocuous gaffe by the way -- it’s not like Biden boasted, “Bring’em on” like Bush did when told Iraq insurgents were aggressively targeting our troops.)

Peter from Virginia has been regularly writing “Damn you, Democrats” letters to the Watertown Daily Times. He particularly enjoys mocking monthly Times contributor Stewart MacMillan from Guffin Bay, calling McMillan unpatriotic and a socialist. (Actually, MacMillan takes pride in the latter accusation.)

As residents of the North Country, we may not all agree with MacMillan’s left-leaning opinions, but he's no less our neighbor, a member of our community. I suppose we should be proud that our local newspaper has a readership that stretches all the way to Virginia. But it seems disrespectful for out-of-state residents to use our local newspapers to mock and chastise members of our community.

And it’s not just happening in the Watertown Daily Times. In the Jefferson County Journal, Bill Stanley from Black Mountain, North Carolina regularly writes “Damn you, Liberals” letters. Bill writes weekly to mock any Obama-supporters in the Journal readership.

We’re year-round residents of the North Country; we’re a proud tribe. You loft insults at one of our members from states away, and you’re insulting all of us. Wouldn’t it be common courtesy to at least become a year-round resident in our community first, before you regularly ridicule our community members?

I know we live in a global society, and channels of communication can never be localized, nor should they be. But if you’re from out-of-state and allowed the privilege of voicing your opinions in our local newspapers, and all you have is mockery and condescension for our community members, then perhaps it’d be best if you kept your ugly ridicule at a more local level. Why not start with your mirror?