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This has been a rough year and a half. So far, I have had challenges, both personal and professional. Recently, I have tried to be honest with my columns, like my predecessor. He was a wordsmith that I will never live up to, but I will try. My one promise is that I will be honest, calling balls and strikes as I see them. I do not hide my opinion or apologize for it. You have seen that a few times in my first year.

This pandemic has also given me reason to state my opinion. Oh, was that an experience.

I thought I was being metered and expressing one opinion, and I was savaged by several of my readers. I was told I should shut up, had no right to my opinion and was derelict in my duty to the community to even express my concern that we were overstepping. Shutting down businesses was not my concern. Some thought the first amendment didn’t apply to lowly newspaper publishers.

A few came to my defense, but covertly. They realized that the slings and arrows I was taking were bound for them if they showed their heads. Privately, they supported me but admitted they didn’t want to be crucified in public if they came to my aid.  

I am who I am, someone who champions those who are reluctant to speak into a microphone. I doggedly protect the rights of the citizen and question EVERYTHING that might lead to a diminished citizen’s rights. I use information and intelligence guided by experience when making decisions. Fifty years is not a lifetime, but it is amazing what you see repeated in that time.

I do research and look back at past decisions, pandemics and look at political fallout. All told me this was an overreach. I called it back in February, March and now in May. We are finding the mortality of this pandemic is far less than originally forecast.

Hospitalization rates are far less than predicted and infection rates are far higher … much like H1N1.  

Medical experts admit that the only way to get through this is to let it work its way through our population. Recently, some experts said that at least 70 million of us needed to acquire it to begin to give us “herd immunity.”  We need the antibodies that help us fight off the disease.

So here we are, finding our way through this together. I appreciate all of you, even those who disagree. I like the discourse and the letters criticizing my opinion.  I wear them like a badge of honor. We represent you, through the good and bad.

We are the community standard and your voice, although I wish you would utilize that voice more often even when it is critical of me.

Thank you for your readership and the ability to report on the community we love. Stay safe, Polk County.

(1) comment

tortdude

The COVID-19 crisis raises so many important issues that require nuanced analysis and compassion. Once again you’ve succeeded in making it all about you and whether or not you’re “right” or appropriately bull-headed. If you want to be a truly powerful publisher, take yourself out of the equation. Give voice to all of your community—the unemployed waitress with diabetes, the farmer with no way to get his goods to market, the elderly, and the small businessman who has had to let go his employees. When you can write a column that expresses their concerns and fears while leaving yourself out of it, you will be on the path to serving the community who buys your paper.

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