I do not receive many written responses to my columns. When I do, I am always grateful even when the writer disagrees with me. The intent of my “think about it” column is just that — consider my view in context with your own. Share it with me if you like and give me more to think about.
I do not like letters that intend to bully and demean me, my writing or both but it does not mean I ignore them. I want to know the objection which usually occurs somewhere in the response.
An obvious departure from the intention of my column are my recent columns about husband Paul’s and my journey toward our final separation. We have been rewarded by responses from readers who tell us it is of value to them. They and we form a supportive union of sorts since some have or soon will go through a similar journey.
Many simply write of their compassion for us. We are so grateful. I want to share responses to other columns and continuing dialogues and debates of our time.
“Death by ignorance” (Oct. 19, 2022)
In the last year, I wrote two columns about tightening and/or limiting access to abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision to send law-making related to access to abortions back to states. The column above spoke to the serious medical complications that can arise from failure to medically abort certain pregnancies, including infertility and death of the mother.
One reader wrote she thought the column made a case for making abortion legal. Indeed, it is my view that to think otherwise can only mean callous disregard for the life of a woman when she becomes pregnant. The dangers of untreated medical complications of pregnancy are well known now having been broadcast in many different mediums.
No one wrote to support withholding care to pregnant women in life-threatening situations. It just should not be done.
“Come … lie (sic) with me” (Jan. 11, 2023)
The column started with the recognition “In politics, lying has become a standard of excellence.” I referred to the unusual bravado of newly elected House representative George Santos who cannot seem to say anything but a lie when talking about himself.
I wrote that Santos would never have been elected if his district had an active investigating press. The point of the article was local newspapers are being economically squeezed out of communities leaving residents without a means of getting accurate in-depth information to assess candidates.
This column received a few critical remarks. Seems more than one reader thought I should have given equal weight to lies by President Biden. Putting aside for a moment the point of the column and the general reference I made a to politics and lying, I indulged the criticism and went to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler as suggested to get the lying lowdown on Biden.
Arriving there, I remembered this is the site of Pinocchio awards for lying, the more deceptive the lie, the more awards.
Biden repeated the lie that he traveled 17,000 miles with the President of China so often, he earned a Bottomless Pinocchio. The Fact Checker determined at some point the lie becomes “propaganda,” hence “bottomless.”
It was Biden’s first Bottomless Pinocchio, but he could still catch up with Trump’s record of receiving 56 Bottomless Pinocchio by the end of his presidency.
I invite everyone to look at the records of elected individuals but challenge anyone to conclude Trump’s or Biden’s false statements reach the level of George Santos proclivity to lie.
The real issue of these critiques is their outrage that I do not write nice things about Trump and the Republicans. I would if could, although I have qualified some of my comments in general not to include all Republicans. I do not find redeeming value in actions that seek to oppress and demean others, their rights, and their futures.
My suggestion has always been to detractors of my column — learn to write without ranting and write a column that causes people to think about your words.
“Yelling hate in a crowded movie theater” (Nov. 30, 2022)
This column generated the most dialogue, contemplation and response that continues to this day. So much so that in my circle of friends, we have been either discussing it or planning to discuss it ever since.
The column expresses my concern about potential abuse of freedom of speech that results in, even directs harm to others. We have continuing examples of threats made to people — a recent one being the death threats to the prosecuting attorney and his family for a grand jury indictment of the former president.
We see after the fact legal remedies such as the arrest of the man that bludgeoned the Speaker of the House’s husband or the current court action brought by Dominion Voting Systems Corporation against the network who falsely reported problems with their voting machines that resulted in a fake election.
“After the fact” and years later in both instances is too late, is it not? The damage is done.
Social constraints or decorum, I suppose, may have put a lid on some of this in the past. The lid started coming off when former President Trump declared “political correctness” a problem, and people laughed and clapped.
We should talk about these issues if for no other reason than cleaning up the messes we are in the process of leaving our children.
Still, readers have their say whatever it is and sometimes their way. The Gazette encourages write-ins but discourages name calling. Me too.
Bertha Cooper, an award-winning featured columnist with the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation and it the author of the award-winning “Women, We’re Only Old Once.” Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 20 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.