Writer Disheartened

I used to care! Some people have asked me why I seldom write letters to the editor any more? Play a little Jeopardy here and you will quickly have your answer.

I greatly appreciate the freedom the Times has given its readers to express their thoughts on the opinion page of this newspaper. I specifically appreciate the space they have given me to express my thinking on many issues over the years. I would speculate that this window of opportunity for most of us to freely express our opinions openly and publicly in this country is nearing an end.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I would further speculate that the Times will be one of the last newspapers to walk in goose step with the rest of the media in repressing anti-establishment free expression.

With Dan Rather "biased", Peter "Perfect" Jennings and Tom "Terrific" Brokaw every night reciting the mantra, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", I think the pressure will become too great for local media to remain free! I don't know exactly when it happened, but news reporting in this country went from telling the people the "who, when and where" of the news to include the manipulative "why and what you should think about it".

By the way, I believe the expression "man behind the curtain" in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz" represented the thought "what your eyes see" or "what you think you know to be the truth of a matter". It could have been stated as "pay no attention to what you know in your heart to be true, just go along with the dream!" (Dorothy did for quite a while.) As a people, we've been going along with the dream for sometime since the media changed their focus in news reporting.

I would be remiss here if I didn't congratulate the mass media for successfully drugging Americans into staying with the trip. This is not what I started out to write about, but since these words and thoughts are flowing from my mind, I might as well get them into print and off my chest.

I'm sure some of you quake with fear when you see that I'm writing a letter to the editor. Some of you are afraid I'm going to boldly go where no man has gone before into politics or religion. These are the things you would rather not see discussed freely when we have such interesting things as the lottery, game shows, professional sports, soap operas, and sit-coms to discuss. (Did I leave out any of the most common somas of the walk of life?)

I want to share something with those who still practice the freedom to read opinions and to think about them. I resolved several months ago to withdraw from the voting system--national, state and local. This was not an easy decision to make and I'm not endorsing it as the action to take by every other American Citizen, Hoosier or County resident.

The problem is, I can't even hold the curtain up any more to hide the man behind it. But some of you can rejoice, I will no longer be canceling your votes! For those who think this is the most irrational decision I've probably made in my life, I welcome your wise advice and gentle criticism. I might even answer it if I think you really want to hear my best defense of the path I've chosen. I will also try to be as wise and gentle!

Until the Times is forced to do the goose step, I'm still in "the game". I would like to handle the most obvious objection right now to show a little of the fight which is still in me for the future. "But Kenny, if you don't vote, you don't have a right to complain!"

In other words, you folks who believe this old cliché would argue that the man or woman who is being robbed at gunpoint by a criminal and given the option, or THE VOTE, to willingly give up his or her money or give up his or her life can't complain if they don't vote? Could the robbed even be justified in uttering the complaint, "You are the criminal, who will always have a gun, aren't you going to take whatever you want with or without my vote? Why do you ask for my consent to sanctify your actions?"

Didn't someone in U.S. history once say, "Give me liberty or give me death!" What kind of times did this radical lunatic live in and do we have to check out his voting record to see if he had the right to make such an anti-establishment and ludicrous statement? British rule was the establishment then.

I'm trying not to be bitter and angry with some of my fellow Americans, but as R.E.M. sang in one of their songs--"everybody hurts". The Bee Gees asked a good follow-up question, "how can you mend a broken heart?" And Chumbawamba tried to teach us in "Tubthumping" that our attitude should be "when we get knocked down, we get up again."

In the last few years, I've seen some things in the national news--I won't go into specifics-- and I've observed some reactions to these things by my national, state and local neighbors, which has certainly knocked me down, so to speak.

WARNING: Look away if you don't want to see me pull the curtain back. It is the truth that we are on a drugged trip. It is the truth that we are fast asleep in a dream which they have created. But, remember this truth,"while we sleep, they live!" Should I still care? I used to care!

--Kenneth J. Wolf #64 (08/14/99)

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