Standing up to the Bullying...

Fletcher Long, Editor

“Tell your husband I am ashamed to say I took any part in his rearing. In fact, I am ashamed to claim our having a long-standing relationship. I am cancelling my subscription to his newspaper.” Well, we can’t please everyone, I suppose.
 
My wife traveled back to the western Kentucky city we once called home to see and visit with our new grand-baby, Julia Bellamy. My oldest daughter, Sarah Catherine, and her husband, Nicholas, live in Clarksville, Tennessee which is just across the Tennessee state line from the Kentucky town where we once lived.
 
Unfortunately for my wife, Bebe, she encountered a native of the city of Hopkinsville who has been a lifetime friend of my family's and has been "like a relative” all of my life. If it takes a village to rear a child, as Hillary Clinton once wrote, than this person was easily a prominent citizen of the village which reared me. This “relative” was extremely unhappy with one of my editorials.
 
If you are wondering what had elicited such a visceral and negative reaction from this particular "ex officio” member of the “Long-clan," it was my editorial entitled “You Scratch My Back…” It appeared in the “Jackson Times-Voice” two weeks ago in print. When I get done with writing this editorial, it will be on-line across every single newspaper owned by the Nolan Media Group, which numbers 8 newspapers presently. 
 
In that article, I went through the transcript of the phone conversation between President Trump and the president of the Ukraine. I opined that the transcript, when read without giving anyone “a benefit of the doubt,” led this reader to the conclusion that our President implied to Ukraine’s president, via that phone call, that if Ukraine wanted to get the $400 million being withheld from their defense (which Congress approved and directed be sent to Ukraine), it needed to investigate the Bidens, both Joe and his son, Hunter.
 
Joe Biden is a democratic candidate for President in the upcoming 2020 election. The chances appear likely he will gain the democratic nomination and will face Trump in the general election. 
 
There appears to be no dispute that a week prior to the telephone conversation, Trump directed his “Chief of Staff” to withhold the aid earmarked for Ukraine’s military defense. From the transcript I read, it appeared a reasonable inference Trump ordered the funds withheld because he wanted “something” from Ukraine first. 
 
I said in the editorial he had no Constitutional authority to withhold the money Congress had voted to appropriate toward Ukraine’s defense. That can’t be rationally (or Constitutionally) disputed. 
 
I said, in the article, there was no residual doubt remaining, after my having read the transcript which TRUMP HIMSELF RELEASED TO THE MEDIA, our President was explicitly implying should Ukraine scratch his back, its back would be scratched in return. As Editor of this newspaper, making this expression in his “Editorial,” I am equally sure about the second position’s accuracy.
 
To this particular “relative," I would ask a few questions. Has America become a place where a person either isn’t entitled to an opinion or isn’t entitled to voice that opinion for fear of the loss of the love of his relations and/or community? Is there only one truth for us all, and everyone else’s truth should be subverted, for fear of the consequences? 
 
There were some people who probably thought eradicating the Jews from off the face of the earth wasn’t a particularly good (or even Christian) course of action. History tells us they were bullied into silence. The consequence, recorded in History, of that silence was the Holocaust.
 
They were bullied by the fear the Government would turn on them. They were bullied by the fear of suffering a similar fate. They were bullied by the prospect of all of their friends and family turning against them. They were bullied by various other “fears.” The sum total of those fears silenced them into acquiescence which resulted in the murder of around 6,000,000 innocent people.
 
The Jackson Time-Voice will not be bullied into silence. Neither will its Editor.
 
You see, we may have different politics. You may believe your political beliefs are entirely right and mine entirely wrong. 
 
You are entitled to have and persist in that belief owing to our living in a free country which used to abhor telling any of us what we should believe. America used to celebrate its differences, used to invite healthy and vigorous debate, and used to feel the coagulation of different viewpoints into one Country made us stronger and better for having had the discussion. 
 
Apparently, there are those of you out there who no longer feel that way. It is your way or the highway, so to speak. Apparently still, some of you live in the city in which I was reared and believe yourselves (somehow) entitled to confront my wife with your political views while she is shopping with my children in downtown Hopkinsville.
 
The message was sent back to me that you didn’t believe I was reared to be a “leftist, communist, liberal.” You will be glad to learn your message was delivered. While I am undeniably left of mid-line, I am not a communist. I am an American who disagrees with you. 
 
Unfortunately for you, I am an American with a platform. My employer, which provides me this platform, “...buys ink by the barrel.” 
 
You may not recall this expression but it has been attributed to many people, not the least of which was an Indiana republican Congressman, Charles Brownson, who died in 1964. Bronson warned against maintaining feuds with news outlets which he reasoned purchased ink in such quantities. Bronson was most likely referencing Eugene Pulliam who owned several papers including “The Indianapolis Star” and “The Arizona Republic.” 
 
While the subject of my “rearing” has been fairly raised, I was also reared (by you, among others) to have a back-bone, to stand-up to bullies, and to fight for my convictions. That is exactly what I have done, and what I will continue to do, regardless of whom happens to become displeased or uncomfortable.
 
Truth is a matter of perspective. One person’s perspective or politics is largely formed by where one lives, what one does for a living, what one’s social status may be, and what one has to spend. A second person’s perspective may be radically different from the first, without either being “wrong,” simply owing to the second person’s circumstances and realities being vastly different from the first’s. Their respective “Truths” are polarities because their realities are antithetical.
 
The world around us isn’t composed of “black and white,” concrete truths. Your truth and mine may be as different as our perspectives, as our realities. Both viewpoints are entitled to be heard. If you wish, send the Times-Voice the counterpoint to my editorial and we will print it.
 
What isn’t going to work is bullying us into either silence or “feigned” agreement. You profess to know me. Surely, you know me better than that. 
 
Take it for what it is worth, but THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!

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