Adding to the toxic atmosphere

I feel that rules are generally put in place for good reasons. As a frequent contributor to the “letters-to-the-editor” section of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, I’ve adhered to the paper’s longtime policies allowing writers to submit no more than one letter a month, and asking them to refrain from engaging in “back-and-forth” confrontations.

Now, it seems, the rules have changed. Restrictions on letters have been lifted, and the editors have (wisely, in my opinion) eliminated anonymous (and sometimes nasty) comments on daily news stories. While I still plan to mostly submit only one letter a month (more than that would be “overkill” for both readers and myself), I can appreciate how the recent rule change might be useful in allowing writers such as myself to correct false statements submitted in haste by reactionary writers with a penchant for playing sophomoric “gotcha” games that sometimes submerges factuality, good sense and good manners.

An Oct.13 letter from James Kendall (“Wrong people being vilified”) erroneously claimed (in my Oct. 3 letter) I suggested President Obama is “infallible.” I said no such thing! I said the fact Mr. Obama was re-elected indicates (in spite of the claims of right wing pundits) that many Americans do support the Affordable Care Act. My alleged belief in the president’s “infallibility” can be disproven by a previous letter I wrote opposing his then-announced intention to attack Syria.

Kendall’s silly complaint about my use of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” suggests he believes Orwell’s works somehow “belong” only to far right tea party extremists. Those folks are welcome to Ayn Rand and “Atlas Shrugged,” but Orwell’s works are universal and open to interpretation (note it is the congressional extremists, not the president, who want to alter or eliminate existing laws).

While I commend Kendall for attaching his own name to his erroneous opinions, calling the president a “pig” is akin to the silliness exhibited at last week’s “hate Obama” rally at the World War II Memorial in Washington and only contributes to the current toxic polarization that threatens the future of the nation we all live in.

Fred O’Neill

Marietta