I had a nice surprise this past week when my third regular Peabody Gazette-Bulletin reader stopped by my table to visit during lunch at Sharon’s Korner Kitchen. It was a surprise because he and his wife live in Wichita and I do not see either of them very often. He told me he enjoys getting the paper and he always reads this opinion column. Even though he did not tell me that he enjoyed the column, just that he read it, I was pleased to know that it was on his radar.
I never think that everyone should agree with what I write here. In fact, I assume that many readers will not agree with me. It does not matter that my third regular reader did not say he thought I was right on the money with my opinions. I do not expect that kind of blind allegiance from anyone.
Just to remind you how things are done, you should know that you may write me a letter any time as long as you keep it short, do not use icky language, and do not libel anyone. Oh wait — there is just one more thing. You also have to sign your name.
Yes, it is true, you have to be willing to step up and admit that you are you. In addition, you need to include a daytime telephone number so that I can contact you and confirm that you are, indeed, the author of the communication I am about to print.
Signing it is the tough part, isn’t it? I have received many letters to the editor with no signature. What is that about? Are you are not proud of the stand you take on a given issue? Your position is not valid enough to put your name to it? Members of our newspaper staff who contribute to the opinion page have to put a name to their columns — in some instances, 52 times a year. So why are you unwilling to step up and sign your name one time?
If you are anonymous, guess what? You will remain anonymous until the end of time. No one will want to put you in print. Certainly, this publication will not.
If you want your opinion to count, say it in fewer than 500 words, watch your language, do not libel anyone, and for Pete’s sake, sign your name. Do all of this and I will be happy to let you have your say. Otherwise, your opinion does not count at all.
— Susan Marshall