The managing editor of the Lassen County Times has responded to an email message I sent and it appears my letter in support of teachers may be published afterall. However, I clearly touched a nerve with the editorial staff there, and will address that shortly.
I did want to revisit what I had written in a previous post regarding the Times editorial. I wrote it at the end of a long day, after hearing how upset the local teachers were and after consuming most of a bottle of wine. Shortly after writing that post (and getting the rejection) I also sent a very flippant email to the editor:
Sad to hear the Times is afraid of facts. Fortunately there are other avenues to get this out...
All the best,
In more sober reflection, I wanted to revisit the nature of what I had written and consider whether or not I had been out of line in my comments. It was certainly not the most thought-provoking piece I have written. So what did I say?:
- I posted the editorial in full and described what the teachers were actually asking for, which is a pay increase to cover increasing costs of medical benefits. The Times kind of indicates this, but then goes on to say: Teachers are not working before or after school until the impasse is resolved, meaning they want more money (emphasis mine). It think this is anti-public school code for "here they go again, the teachers want more money" and like conservative talk shows, it's taken out of context and meant to incite a negative response against teachers;
- I suggested that the staff at the Lassen County Times are right wing conservatives and largely fundamentalist Christian. Under this assumption I suggested that their opinions of issues and other groups of people are probably clouded under a particular perspective. I insinuated that they largely think their taxes should go to something other than public service and that they probably in no way questioned what they published about the teachers as being anti-Christian. On the contrary I suggested that on Sunday they will reinforce their belief in their superior Christian morality and never stop to consider that their actions are un-Christ-like. In retrospect, I reconsider painting ALL of the staff like this, but over the years of reading the Times I see no reason to back off that position in general - I don't know it for a fact, but I'd be willing to take most of it to Vegas...
- My reasoning for making this observation is that I see a clear connection between what I believe to be the broader cultural context with which a significant portion of the Times staff identifies and the published editorial. Christian conservatives, by and large, do not accept public service as a worthy goal of their tax dollars; they do not like the concept of public schools; they do not care for public school teachers, particularly outspoken ones; they do not like specific subjects being taught; and they prefer to have complete control over the kinds of knowledge to which children should be exposed. The editorial was simply projecting a belief I suspect is already being held by many on the Times staff.
I really see no reason to back away from what I previously said.