I’ve always found being criticized — ultimately — beneficial. You have to get beyond the initial sting, past the inclination to fire back an inflammatory retort, to a place where you can consider the merits of the unexpected critique.
Thus, here I am, pondering the words of a recent subscriber who dropped the paper and dared us to print the reasons why she no longer wanted it.
Her letter to the editor was published on our Floyd County Opinions page on Saturday, and on the Clark Opinions page Monday.
It’s likely she’ll find kindred spirits among our past and present readers, and some who disagree with her assertions. Either way, her opinion is worth considering.
She stood up for President Trump after a guest columnist took him to task for not telling the truth. He has lied, the columnist asserted. I honestly believe that’s a true statement.
The ex-reader wrote that she loved her community, her country and her president.
My perspective is that I love our community and our country. I’ve respected and even admired some of our past presidents, been OK with others. No. 45? Not so much.
His trade tariffs have harmed our steel workers and farmers more than anyone. The wall is a farce. Separating immigrant families and throwing kids into cages is heinous.
None of that sits well with me. Nor does Donald Trump’s penchant for disparaging others. I wasn’t raised that way — and I’m betting you weren’t, either.
Those are my personal opinions, however. Truth be told, the News and Tribune publishes comparatively little about national politics. That’s intentional.
We believe our primary role is to provide community news, features, sports coverage and commentary. That doesn’t mean we won’t ever publish anything of a national nature, especially if it has broad implications.
We made an exception this week, when two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — were issued against President Trump on Tuesday. These are serious charges of wrongdoing that — if proven true — could derail his presidency. The President contends he did nothing wrong, tweeting that to impeach a president with his record would be "sheer Political Madness!"
We have no aversion, though, to letting the President have his say. When Trump twice visited Louisville and stopped in Evansville, we committed resources to cover his appearance. If the leader of our country takes time to visit our back yard, we should be there to hear what he has to say.
We were criticized for that, too. I've always thought that if you are being criticized from both sides, you're probably doing something right.
Back to our former reader. She wrote in her letter, “There is only one Author that writes for you that is worth reading and that is Lindon Dodd.”
Well, I like Lindon’s writing, too. He can be funny, thoughtful, irreverent and more. But I believe many of our other columnists — likely she’s referencing them, as opposed to reporters who also write — have merit and are worth your time to read.
Chris Morris’ writing is replete with homespun Southern Indiana charm. Erin Thompson adds her savvy mom perspective. Terry Stawar entertains and educates. Barb Anderson challenges us to be our better selves. Amanda Beam brings both spunk and heart to her tales. Terry Cummins weaves a lesson or two into each column. Newcomer Mike Matthews brings us together. The descriptions from another Mike, Lunsford, make everyday happenings relatable. So, too, are the musings of Tom May from his view in the Catbird Seat. And we occasionally run columns by Mark Bennett, who gets to the heart of what’s important in life.
We also publish guest columns from current and former elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Todd Young, U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, and Congressman Lee Hamilton. Two of those men are Republicans, and when Democrat Hamilton was in the U.S. House, he reached across the aisle so much he created a bridge for comprise.
Other periodic columnists include Leo Morris, John Krull, Mary Beth Schneider, Shane Phipps, Bill Ketter, Kelly Hawes and Brian Howey, all more politically oriented with a statewide or national focus. Why? They add variety and cause us to evaluate our own opinions on the issues before us.
That’s a lot of voices. I add my own to the chorus sometimes, tackling issues or encouraging more intentional living. Our former subscriber did, too, and I respect her for that, though disengaging isn’t often a good solution.
She is absolutely entitled to her opinion that what we do is shameful. I don’t share it, but I did print it. And I defend her right to believe as she chooses. I do, however, encourage her to listen to opposing viewpoints, as should we all.
And you don’t have to be a subscriber to submit a letter to the editor, so she should write more often. So should others. The News and Tribune Opinions page is fertile ground on which grows food for thought. Plant your seeds.
— Editor Susan Duncan can be reached at 812-206-2130 and firstname.lastname@example.org.