The caller was angry.
One could almost envision the steam coming out of his ears.
The caller to this paper was mad as you know what that we dared use a column by Jay Bookman within these pages.
It didn’t matter that Bookman is considered one of the top political writers in the state. (He is one of the two best in my opinion.)
It didn’t matter that Bookman wrote for the state’s largest newspaper for three decades, winning numerous prestigious writing awards.
You see, the caller didn’t agree with what Bookman was expressing in an opinion piece and was demanding answers.
“Who decided to use Jay Bookman in your paper?” the caller said.
The answer was “my decision.”
“You know Jay Bookman is a communist, don’t you?” the caller spewed.
“No, he is not,” I responded.
Even though I realized there was no reasoning with this caller, I continued to try.
“You are reading something on the opinion page,” I said. “That is the writer’s opinion. His photo and name are with it. Just because you disagree with that opinion doesn’t mean we don’t have the right to use someone who is one of the top political writers in this state in the paper.”
I tried to explain, without success, that I don’t agree with what every newspaper columnist writes. However, I actually have always enjoyed reading columns that express views different from my own.
In years gone by, I always read the columns of George Will. I didn’t always agree with what he said, but I respected the way he wrote and the way he made his points.
To read only what we agree with gets pretty boring and does so rather quickly.
There was no reasoning with this caller, however. You see, Bookman had mapped out, quite well to be honest, how the GOP has set U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker up to fail. Walker is a flawed candidate in many ways.
It doesn’t mean that Walker doesn’t have the right to run for office. His name recognition alone made him a good choice for the office as Republicans try to take back a U.S. Senate seat they unexpectedly lost in 2020.
However, to say that Walker should somehow be given a free pass into the United States Senate just because he is a Republican is asinine.
Still, the caller never backed down an inch. I told him I would suggest if he doesn’t like Bookman’s offerings then he is free not to read him. We have other columnists who represent the right leaning point of view. That includes the owner of this newspaper, who is very conservative and offers his insights each week.
Yet, we have long since arrived at the point in our county, region, state and country where you can’t have a civil disagreement with anyone. It’s either “you are 100 percent with us or 100 percent against us.”
That line of thinking is shallow and it’s really a very closed-minded way to live. Remember, when you bury your head in the sand that it leaves a certain part of your body exposed for what it is.
The caller was told he was more than welcome to write a letter disputing everything that was said by Bookman in his offering.
To this point, no letter has been received.
We don’t censor views and opinions in this newspaper. We have a wide variety of columnists who each have their own thoughts and ideas.
That difference of opinion is what makes our country great. It just makes you shake your head when some believe differing views should not be allowed.
That goes against the First Amendment and what our country’s founders intended.
Chris Bridges is the managing editor of The Walton Tribune. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a 1993 graduate of the University of West Georgia.