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The letters to the editor about the commitment announcement of two males previously published in the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal continue.

This subject has obviously struck some nerves. It is also truly indicative of some level of polarization in our culture and, I suppose, the reluctance of anyone to cede ground anymore. That is an observation, not a paean to useless and/or unprincipled compromise.

People are speaking out. The conversation is no longer one sided. Why should I be surprised? The last six and a half years have certainly taught us all very important lessons about not speaking up when we should. That in itself is a very good thing.

I have previously written about the announcement and the reactions in letters to the editor in the paper here [original diary], here [part 2], here [part 3], here [part 4], here [part 5], here [part 6], here [part 7], and here [part 8].

One letter in support of publishing the announcement was printed in today’s edition of the paper. This same letter reopened a painful chapter in the city’s history from 40 years ago.

The header for the letter was provided by the paper.

Issue Is All About Fear

“Please accept my sturdy support for publishing an announcement of the sacred commitment of two people…It’s unfortunate, but it still takes courage to stand tall while you’re tip-toeing into the 21st century…

…As I recall, the good citizens of the Burg voted down the opportunity for a swimming pool about 1967 for fear that whites would have to swim with ‘coloreds.’ It was their loss, of course, but it also said something about people’s fears. The current situation…is about fear, too…”

History certainly speaks for itself.

Our society’s current inability to get over fear is troubling. We’ll give up the Bill of Rights because someone else will exploit our fears in support of their own misguided belief that our freedoms leave us too vulnerable. They are afraid. Ironic, isn’t it?

As a culture we fear any changes in society because, well, something different can’t be any good. That might work out for a three year old, but it’s no way for a mature and diverse society to function.

Some fear others because they appear to be different in some way, blind to the obvious fact that we are all really the same. There’s the rub.

For the longest time too many people on have been afraid to speak out because they were afraid of being labeled “un” this or “un” that.

February 25, 2003

…The final audience member who spoke was the most eloquent [paraphrased from memory]:  “I am not from this country. I am a naturalized citizen.  I would like to thank those who spoke out against this [war].  It is a difficult thing to do [in this environment].  What is this un?  Nowhere else in the world do you hear un-French, or un-Spanish…  But, when people speak out here they are called un-American.  This is my home.  It is a very strange thing to be made to feel uncomfortable in your own home…”

It should be a very strange thing indeed to be made to feel uncomfortable in your own community…