Real mail. Snail mail. It was delivered by the Postal Service.
Recently I wrote a column and submitted it to my local paper. The paper actually printed it. I received a lot of responses, and some were actually written and delivered the old fashioned way. I though I’d reproduce one of them here, along with my response to my fan ( a term I use loosely). I know, this is a cheap and easy way to get another post up on the blog, but I did write it, so why not?
I’ll have to retype the letter, which was handwritten. I will not disclose the writer’s identity, and will slightly modify my response to accomplish that purpose. All emphasis is in the original:
November 16, 2012
Dear Mr. Purcell,
After reading your “As I See It” a few days ago in the Patriot-News, I decided to forward to you my latest issue of the Verdict, a publication of Judicial Watch. As a lawyer, you should find it interesting and provoking – another point of view.
How can you and others so easily support such a corrupt administration I will never understand.
The Benghazi-gate episode is going to be “lots of fun”. How could our president let four Americans die in Libya? Uncalled for! Disgusting!
In my usual brief and pithy manner, I responded:
I have your letter of November 16, 2012, which I received upon my return from the holidays. …
It is interesting to see that the opinion column I wrote and which the Patriot News published seems to have spurred quite a few interesting reactions, both negative and positive. Yours was on the opposing side, but in this country I don’t see opposing opinions as being ”negative” – simply oppositional. They are different opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, everyone is NOT entitled to their own facts. What always astounds me is how people can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions, but that is a part of our humanity, I guess, and I am sure it is explained by a mixture of psychology, upbringing, education, culture, and probably a few other forces beyond our control.
Obviously, I disagree with your response to my article, but then so did roughly 47 percent of the voters, which is a sizable number of people. Fortunately, in my opinion, 50 percent agreed with me.
I read your issue of the Judicial Watch Verdict, a publication of Judicial Watch, Inc. I am aware of the publication; however, I don’t give it a lot of credence for a number of reasons. First, it’s almost completely funded by Richard Scaife, an heir to the Mellon fortune in Pittsburgh, who also owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He is a substantial contributor to right wing causes, and has his own agenda, which he wears on his sleeve. Knowing that, I would have to take anything he advocates with a grain of salt. He is not a newsman, he is not an investigative reporter, he is a rich guy with an agenda. He’s a significant contributor to the Heritage Foundation, a right wing think tank. One of his other outlets is what you sent me, this monthly newsletter which appears to be a shill to solicit contributions to his organization. I read the articles in there, about Solyndra, the Fast and Furious program, the voter ID shenanigans in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and a few others. I am well aware of all of them, and find that the articles on them in the newsletter you sent me don’t really add to my knowledge. The articles appear to be simply puff pieces about what a great job the organization is doing litigating with the Administration, without adding much substance to the discussion.
In my opinion, the conservative right wing faction of the various political parties, especially the Republican, has latched onto every little so-called “scandal” in an effort to minimize and besmirch the President of the United States, who was, now twice, duly elected by a significant majority of the people in this country. It used to be that being elected by a significant majority of the people of this country meant that he was allowed to govern as the Chief Executive and Commander in Chief. However, there seems to be a significant minority of people who don’t want him to do that successfully. People like Richard Scaife, Judicial Watch, Fox News, the House Republicans, and a lot of other people, for some reason are not interested in a democracy in which opposing people present their viewpoints, vote on them, and then work their way to a solution that is acceptable to the majority. Instead, as of late, there are factions and elements in Congress who feel that the minority gets to dictate, while the majority is stymied. That is not the way the Founding Fathers designed our system of government, but it seems to be the way it is being played.
So as I indicted, I don’t take much stock in Judicial Watch Verdict. If you read any of those articles carefully, you will see that they are simply advertisements for their own position. The President of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton, seems to be the main person that is quoted in all of the articles. What kind of reporting quotes the reporter as the source of the report? They also cite the aforementioned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Sorry but I am a bit skeptical about those kinds of articles. They really are no better than watching FOX news.
For instance, with regard to the Fast and Furious Program, the article is all about how Judicial Watch is suing to get documents. However, if you read other sources, the entire matter has been pretty much investigated, and like all the other so-called scandals being used to paint our President badly, this one does not seem to have much more staying power (but Judicial Watch will keep plugging away, and oh…asking you for money while flogging the story). In case you’re interested, a more definitive investigative article was published last June by Fortune Magazine. I don’t suppose you would think that Fortune Magazine was an arm of the “liberal” press, being more highly aligned to the money interests in this country. However, it was an excellent, unbiased article that explained exactly what was going on with that program. In case you did not see it, I am going to attach a copy of the article for your review. Read that and tell me if you still agree with these scurrilous and hysterical renderings that you read in publications like Judicial Watch.
Finally, I am just a bit perplexed by your last statement about what you call “Benghazi-gate”. You ask “How could our President let four Americans die in Libya? Uncalled for! Disgusting!”
I would have to ask you how you came to the conclusion that the President allowed four Americans to die in Libya. Are you aware of any circumstances in which he knew, in advance, that those four Americans were going to be attacked there, and had the ability to stop it? You are aware that they are assigned to a dangerous country, and that people die in those countries all the time. You are aware that it was a terrorist attack that caused their deaths? How can you possibly think that the President was responsible for their deaths?
More to the point, I find that Republicans and conservatives seem to think that it is such a big issue, when in fact it happens all the time. They are making a mountain out of a molehill for who-knows-what political gain. I would be far more up in arms, as you appear to be, and could take your concern more seriously, if people such as yourself (and I am including you among the conservatives and Republicans who seem to be so much against Obama for irrational reasons) had made a similarly big deal about the following:
- The attack on the consulate in Calcutta, India on January 22, 2002, in which five people were killed.
- The Al Qaeda truck bomb attack on the consulate in Karachi, Pakistan on June 14, 2002, which killed 12 people.
- The consulate office bombing in Denpasar, Indonesia on October 12, 2002.
- The unknown gunman attack on the embassy on Islamabad, Pakistan on February 28, 2002, in which two people died.
- The Islamic movement suicide bombing attack on the embassy at Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 30, 2004, in which two people were killed.
- The Al Qaeda gunmen raid on the diplomatic compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2004, in which nine people died.
- The car bomb explosion outside the consulate at Karachi, Pakistan on March 2, 2006, in which two people were killed.
- The gunman raid on the US Embassy in Damascus, Syria on September 12, 2006, in which four people were killed.
- The RPG attack on the embassy in Athens, Greece on January 12, 2007.
- The motor attack on the US Embassy at Sana’a, Yemen on March 18, 2008, in which two people were killed.
- The armed attack against the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on July 9, 2008, in which six people were killed.
- The two car bomb attack on the US embassy in the capital of Yemen, Sana’a on September 17, 2008, in which 16 people were killed.
As you will note from the dates, every one of those consulate and embassy attacks were during the Bush Administration. Do you blame George Bush for all those deaths? If so, did you vote for his reelection after the first five attacks on the above list? Why would you give Bush a pass (12 times) and not Obama? I didn’t hear anyone say, after any of those attacks, “How could our President let (x) Americans die in (X)?” I certainly can’t remember a single one of those being raised to the level of hysteria that this so-called “Benghazi-gate” has been raised to, with Bush’s head being called for by liberals, Democrats, or anyone else for that matter. Do you? It’s the height of hypocrisy to make a big deal about Benghazi today. We don’t have a lot of control over the protection of our embassies. In fact, the Obama administration had requested from Congress additional funding to protect our consulates and embassies, and was refused by the Republican house. You know, the same Republicans who say “no” to everything Obama asks for.
Frankly, I don’t see anything corrupt about our President. To the contrary, I find it incredibly corrupt that a political party that used to be considered the “Grand Old Party” is so insecure that they don’t think that they can win elections anymore unless they surreptitiously suppress the vote of people who they feel would not normally vote for them. I can’t speak for you, but I was raised to believe that the way our political process worked, opposing parties formulated opposing ideas about how to run the government. They presented programs, policies and platforms that they hoped would entice a sufficient number of voters to vote for those ideas and obtain a majority vote. If they didn’t, they acceded to the will of the people, and allowed the winning majority to rule. Lately, however, it seems like the Republican Party does not have a platform or a program or a position that they are confident can secure the votes of the majority of the people. So instead they take to voter suppression in order to “steal” the election. To me that indicates that they are not very confident in their own political ideology.
I ask you, if they are not confident in their own political ideology, why should I be?
I would be happy to discuss this with you at any time. Maybe over a cup of coffee? In the meantime, I trust you’ll accept this letter in the same spirit I accepted yours.
Very truly yours,