I was preparing to write regarding the "letter of the month" issue when Thomas Peacock beat me to it. He begged the U-B to "please, please" not go through with this and included a few derogatory comments about the "regular" contributors, accusing them of espousing hatred, altering facts and not having "acceptable" viewpoints.
Well, I may have been included in that "core of regulars," having been one of four writers profiled in that Oct. 24, 2004, U-B article that included Roberta Bardsley, Ray Norsworthy and the late Bill McCaw. I suspect only two of us in that group were actually being accused of "hate and misplaced facts."
Let me just say I respect all who climb out on a limb and put their thoughts and opinions into the opinion page public arena (including Mr. Peacock, whom I also salute for his Army service). That respect was especially true with the venerable Bill McCaw mentioned above. He and his letters - whether or not I agreed with them - will always be sorely missed by me and I'm sure everyone.
Mr. Peacock and I do agree on one thing: Neither of us wants a letter of mine to be selected (or nominated) for this contest. But for different reasons.
He, apparently, wants to have certain letter writers with whom he disagrees blacklisted from the contest. I, on the other hand, prefer my letters not be considered because - although I often get positive feedback - that is not why I write them. Certainly not to win a contest.
The opportunity and venue presented by the U-B to publicly debate issues on their merits - rather than how cleverly the words may be put together or how elegant the prose - is appreciated.
Political cartoons, for example, are different because you have cartoonists like Jack Ohman of The Oregonian publishing works that often carry completely untrue messages but are enjoyed only because they are cleverly drawn or humorous.
I mentioned in that 2004 interview with Vicki Hillhouse that I heartily support the U-B's broad policy of publishing a variety of letters, whether left, right or wrong and whether or not they are deemed "appropriate" (read "politically correct"). That still stands. To me, the viewpoints and perspectives of U-B readers are every bit as important and interesting as the syndicated columnists.
If anyone (Mr. Peacock?) disagrees with mine, please write a critique but be specific. I'll respond in kind.