Sometimes, the public discourse that plays out in letters to the editor can help the community come to grips with a challenging problem. I’d put the many missives received about the homeless in that category.
Other times, it can simply be interesting, even entertaining.
Then there are the times when it is little more than divisive, delineating positions in an argument that has no chance of being resolved. That’s not the fault of the letter-writers, but these are the occasions when the recipient — the editor — should exercise discretion.
In retrospect, I think I let the letters about the true meaning of Christmas go on a little too long. It’s clearly an issue people care about, and thus deserving of some presentation. But once we had someone writing to say the religious nature of the holiday had been hijacked, and someone responding about how people could celebrate the season without the religious overtones, well, that pretty much covered it. Various manifestations of the same positions followed, and several more were printed.
Again, it was an argument that simply was not going to be settled through letters to the editor. Another example is the reaction to the article about the gender change of a former longtime local educator. Christie Lynn Rust has been and continues to be a prominent member of the community and, when asked, was willing to share an extremely personal story with fellow Del Norters. We did our best to present that story in a tasteful and insightful way.
On Tuesday, we printed two letters with very different views on the Rust story. It’s unlikely that we’ll print more because they’ll probably be restatements of these positions on a disagreement that simply will not be resolved. I still welcome readers’ opinions about the Rust story and any other article that appears in The Triplicate.
NEW SENSE OF DIRECTION
I haven’t produced a new installment of Walk Your World lately, mainly because of my work on the hiking guide that was included in the Dec. 26 edition of The Triplicate.
Laura and I will be back on the trails soon, however, and I’ll be aided by two Christmas gifts from her. One is a pedometer that will help me be more precise in reporting the distances between points of interest.
The second is a compass, something I’ve needed ever since arriving on the convoluted shores of Del Norte two years ago.
Back in Colorado Springs, I always had my bearings because Pikes Peak loomed reliably to the west. Here, I’m never sure. Our waterways twist and turn almost as much as the trails through the dense, disorienting redwoods. And thanks to all those crescents, the beaches are as likely to point southwesterly or northwesterly as they are to face due west.
Highway 101 may be pretty much a north-south route, but Highway 199 meanders east and north on the long ride toward Grants Pass. Heck, without a compass I’m unclear which direction I’m going even inside the Crescent City limits.