I’m used to some pretty odd letters to the editor in our local paper. We’ve got a couple of regulars who would prefer a return to a pre-Roosevelt America (Teddy, that is). But the other day one of them wrote a letter that truly disturbed me. In it he counted up the number of Jews serving in congress and the White House, equated them with Zionism, alleged that they were all agents of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and concluded that they are the puppeteers of Obama for the purpose of dismantling American democracy. Obviously there was more, but you get the idea. That kind of thinking, if it can generate any followers, is what results in violent bigotry of the worst kind.
So what’s the right response, if any? Just let it go and trust that a reasonably informed reading public will recognize it for what it is? I wrote a draft response, but my editor-in-chief (wife) turned it down. It was a bit on the snarky side; really some of my best H.L. Mencken style work. Not priestly at all, but possibly Pauline, as in one of his 2nd Corinthians temper tantrums. Made me feel better though.
I was reminded by my editor-in-chief that I have my own letters to the editor supporting a bond issue for a new police station, and occasional columns extolling the love of God in Christ Jesus, which means that a snarky Mencken style response was probably not in order. She was right of course, but what is the right response, and is any needed? I’m sort of waiting to see what, if anything, might show up in the paper over the next several days. What do you think?