I wrote recently about some notes I had from readers unhappy that we didn’t publish a story commemorating the 64th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The responses to that post make a few things – and only a few things – clear.
The flurry of calls and emails has died down, so I’ll share a few reactions: a) The range of opinion – from ambivalent to impassioned – offered nothing in the way of consensus of opinion. b) Some people have serious trouble arguing their viewpoint without resorting to personal attacks. c) Leave my mother out of this, if you don’t mind. d) And I haven’t drawn any sweeping conclusions from the responses I received.
Some people told me there’s no reason a newspaper – “which has ‘news’ in its name, last I checked” – should write a story every year recapping history. They saw that as a matter of personal responsibility, or the territory of a history journal. Others were irate that I would even question whether there should be a story, and believed people who lost sight of history were disconnected from patriotism and the freedoms they enjoy every day.
As a side note, I have to wonder what happened to the concept of civility in discussing ideas. It doesn’t bode well for the coming election season, or for any civic conversation, for that matter.
It’s disheartening that so many people can’t advocate their ideas without hostility and anger. One reader (amid other name-calling) noted that people obviously don’t care what I think because there are few comments posted on the blog. Throughout that day, several readers emailed comments to me directly, saying they’d rather not post on the blog because people are so hostile and “downright mean” that they didn’t care to post publicly. I know some people believe the anonymity of the Internet is to blame, but I see comments just as bad from people who sign their names. The community loses when the bullies control the discussion.