Letters Never Published

The following are two letters to the editors at the Salem News that never got published.  Both I feel are useful to have out there as part of the conversation.

No, Bill Maher Was Right

The following was a response to this editorial about Bill Maher and his comments on the Boston Marathon Bombing.  

After lambasting Bill Maher as "morally bankrupt" and "sarcastic" (FYI: he is a comedian), the Salem News attempted to prove how "out of touch" he is by quoting some of his remarks on 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing.  Appalled by what he said, they call for HBO to "let Maher go forth on his own and find some religion."  So, it's “morally bankrupt” to identify hypocrisy with sarcasm and satire about two religiously-motivated events, but acceptable for Salem News to recommend religion? 

What's wrong with Maher, asks Anthony Weiner and Salem News (now that’s an interesting pairing).  He called out the Emperor in his birthday suit.  He took the "moral high ground" by calling out truths of the situations that no one wants to admit.  In both instances, his points were relevant.

Is it braver to kill your enemy from afar or to be present and do it by taking your own life?  We celebrate Memorial Day in this country and what we celebrate in part is those people willing to risk their own life for a communal cause.

If people are killed and maimed every day in tragic events, how can you morally differentiate between them in celebrations and honors?  That we as a culture do so much for the victims and survivors of the Boston Bombing comes at the hands of ignoring the many other tragedies that happen every day to innocent people.

Maher revealed truths we don't want to think about, because it makes the world grayer than we like to pretend.  That's what satirists do; they flip conventional wisdom, recognizing it for a poor stand-in for reality.  That Salem News can't recognize that or wants to waste ink on such a subject goes far in explaining why Maher is a media icon and the Salem News is a floundering print newspaper.  

Actually, Trust Is All Around

I sent this one in when the Salem News published this editorial on concerns around the national trust level and asked for people's thoughts.  They have as yet followed up with anything so they either didn't get enough entries or didn't care for the resposnes.  

Many signs reveal an increasing trust in society, which raises questions about the accuracy of the study.  Is it measuring an antiquated concept of trust--one that doesn't understand how technology may have changed our understanding of trust?  

If trust were declining, then websites such as eBay, Amazon Marketplace, and Etsy would not be the thriving hubs that they are.  They rely on trust of individuals to succeed and many use them daily.  Craigslist or Freecycle also thrive even without a user-rating system.  They require that gut-level trust.  What about Couchsurfing wherein people welcome strangers into their homes house for several days--often for free?  The rise of farmers' and craft markets also indicates a stronger faith in individual people than in faceless corporations.  So if this is what the decline of trust looks like, do tell what would an incline of trust look like?

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