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Anonymous

Do you remember when Letters to the Editor had to be signed or else they weren’t allowed to be run in the newspaper? It might still be that way. Yet the “new” letters to the editor – the blogs – are filled with anonymous contributors. How many people actually use any part of their name? Not many. I get in the habit of reading some of the blogs just to stay up to date on what the masses are thinking. It amazes me that all the avatars have slick or cute names that people hide behind. All the easier to be outrageous, unintelligent, belligerent, or just plain dumb without retribution.

I always use my name because I stand behind what I have to say. If I am going to make an effort to be part of a conversation, I want people to know who is talking. Ironically, the majority of the posts are either spouting agendas, spouting nonsense, or simply spouting. I find that the rational pieces (doesn’t matter what the opinion) that are well thought out are actually being posted by people using their name.

If you have something to say, be bold. If you will be embarrassed by it, maybe you shouldn’t write it. If it’s important to say, then you should stand behind your words, just like millions of people have done through the centuries in letters to editors.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

  1. October 5, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Great post, Dan! I completely agree with you on this topic and your observation that people who do not “sign” their name are just spouting nonsense. I don’t even care for posted memos in the workplace that are signed “management” My initial thought is always “If you are going to post for all to see please stand behind your words with you identity!” I take the written words more seriously when a persons name is attached.

  2. Bob Jensen
    October 6, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Dan, I normally agree with you on most issues of the day, but I believe you are 100% wrong on this issue.

    Try adopting a liberal viewpoint in a predominantly conservative town if you don’t believe me. Particularly in this Tea Party world, the “ends justifies the means” mentality of many rabid conservatives is truly sickening.

    Let me give you a few examples:
    1. An anonymous college professor…a conservative guy!….wrote many unsigned, intelligent letters to the editor of the local paper. In one letter, however, he admitted to smoking marijuana once in college. Since he’d talked attending the University of Wisconsin in another letter years ago, local Teahadists cross-referenced the faculty listings of all local colleges until they’d found their man. They then wrote letters to the dean of this college (a “Christian” college)indicating their concern that a “drug addict” was teaching their children. He had no tenure and was immediately fired. He has been out of work for over a year.

    2. A local Tea Party group claimed that the military supported their goals. A friend of mine, an Air Force Reserve major, wrote a letter saying please don’t generalize your so-called “military support”, I’m in the Air Force reserve and *I* don’t support your party. A teahadist lawyer wrote a letter of complaint to the Air Force Secretary and asked that my friend be brought up on Article 88 charges (campaigning in uniform). He beat the rap but his Air Force career is effectively over because of this episode.

    3. I wrote a critical letter to the editor last year. A woman called my house (I had a listed number at the time) and proceeded to curse out one of my children…because she didn’t agree with my librul viewpoint.

    It’s all well and good to sit back and pontificate about the righteousness of standing behind your opinions, but when the other side of the political aisle will stoop to taking food off your family’s table and curse out your children simply because they don’t like what you say, then the battle lines are drawn.

    I still participate in the political process, but most of the time I do so anonymously and I never, ever lose a moment’s sleep because of it.

    • October 6, 2010 at 2:28 am

      Bob, I appreciate your viewpoint. You bring up points of merit and I can see where you are coming from. Maybe part of it comes from where I “hang out” in newspapers…sports, education, and business. I don’t even read the blogs on politics. I will freely admit to you that I lean strongly towards conservative principles, yet I would never do what your examples did. I sincerely (maybe naively) believe that on both sides of the “aisle,” there are the minority of people who get out of control and bring down the house for the rest. When name-calling becomes part of the equation, it drags down civility. I see that a lot.

      I will say this. I must have got your dander up. To proclaim that I am sitting back “pontificating about the righteousness of standing behind opinions” are pretty strong words. My point is whether I believe you are right or not, you at least have your name behind it. We may disagree on this issue (although you’ve educated me and that is appreciated), but we can still debate in a friendly manner.

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