Joe’s Journal

Readers who care

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 09/13/2023 - 7:00am

I was at the Hannaford grocery store the other day trying to choose between salad fixings and red raspberries when a faithful reader stopped me and read me the riot act.

Why do you guys keep printing letters and (online) posts from the same bunch of soreheads parroting Fox News talking points, he said. Then he went on and on about how these guys were just knuckleheads saying the same thing over and over again, always complaining about education, teachers, and anything to do with the evil Godless Socialist/Marxist/Communist/Pagan Democrats.

I thanked this guy and offer my thanks to all the other faithful readers who take the time to read and digest the news. We depend on readers who spend some of their precious time reading, reflecting, and thinking about the ephemeral thoughts we lump together as news. These good folks care about their neighbors, towns, and nation.

But, like them, we don’t always like the stories that we call news. We hate stories involving terrible tragedies, horrible crimes, political skulduggery, and the lot. We hate other stuff, like the obits of friends and stories linking neighbors to maritime accidents, auto crashes, floods, storms and fires.

We believe, and so do most of our readers, we are obligated to bring these news stories to you. We try to be fair and accurate.

Do we always succeed? Not by a long shot. We are human and make mistakes and correct them.

We try to be fair and try to avoid slanted stories. For example, here are a couple of slanted stories that could be written about a made-up account of a Red Sox-Yankees game.

You might see the New York Post version of the game tell us how the blind umpire's mistakes cost the valiant Yankees the win. The Boston Globe version might say how a future Hall of Fame pitcher, like Chris Sale, hurled a great game leading to a well-deserved Red Sox victory.

It was the same game, with the same score, but two different takes on the same story.

Sometimes some outlets go overboard. For example, you might remember stories of the 2020 election when one outlet blamed the result on crooked and rigged voting machines.

I seem to remember their stories of how these machines were programmed to count just one side or were linked to a South American dictator. Their star presenters amplified these claims.

When the voting machine company went to court, the outlet admitted they made up stuff. They paid the voting machine company $787 million and one of their top presenters got the gate.

Despite evidence from this court case and others, there are still lots of faithful folks who believe POTUS 45 won. Even in Georgia and Arizona, where the GOP controlled the voting process and backed 45, some believe that somehow, some way, the Republicans rigged the votes in favor of the Democrats.

Let's thank the Lord we live in America, where freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. It protects your right to believe whatever you choose and say what you want. But like everything else, there are limits to those rights. The most cited version is how you are not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater.

Back to the original point of this ramble, I told my complaining friend I applaud the readers who take the time to write letters and post screeds at the end of this column every week.

Their letters show they are passionate about our town, state, and nation. We want, no, we need, citizens to read and study the issues and voice their opinions. That is one reason we carry them on our pages and websites.

That is why we have a First Amendment.

Recently, another constitutional question has entered the political fray. It concerns the third section of the Fourteenth Amendment. It bars anyone from holding public office if they engaged in insurrection or rebellion. I urge you to dust off your copy of the Constitution and read this passage.

Some cite it as a reason to bar POTUS 45 from seeking his old job.

Recently, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she is wary of this effort. So am I. I prefer to settle this question at the ballot box.

For the next 13 months, you can bet there will be dozens of other unexpected wrinkles to consider.

Fasten your seat belts, Pilgrims. There is a bumpy road ahead.