Politicians and political editorials typically offer an opinion based on a one-sided view of certain "facts." A good example is the recent labor statistics showing some 160,000 more jobs were created last month but the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent. Both presidential candidates and sundry political writers chose to emphasize one or the other of those facts depending on whether they wanted the conclusion to be good or bad for the economy.
With national figures there is little risk of being misled because we know where they stand and we expect them to distort the facts. We choose to listen to or read them because they are saying what we want to hear. The facts are rather meaningless.
Writers of letters to the editor, myself included, suffer the same fault as they endeavor to promote their point of view. Further, these letters, important to local readers because they convey a message about what other members of the community are thinking, often just amount to a bombastic rant and could easily be reduced to a simple, concise, conclusion.
Unlike writers at the national level, we frequently don't know where the local writers are coming from. Therefore, I think it would be really helpful if local writers identified their status right from the start and then proceeded directly to a thrifty conclusion.
For example, a writer might identify himself as a "rich white guy who believes the role of government is to protect what I have and help me get more." He could immediately end his letter with "Vote Romney," saving himself and his readers the effort of laboring over distorted facts.
Another might state he was a "religious fundamentalist who believes mine is the only true God and everybody else is going to hell" and conclude with "ban abortion contraception, sex, gays, hippies and anybody who doesn't think or look like me." Again, substantial savings in cloying verbiage.
Someone, like myself, might say he was "a reasonable person searching for reasonable solutions to serious problems" and finish with "save the environment, help the poor and stop killing each other."