Your mail, my answers

Friday, July 26, 2002

The mail slot is bulging once again with your mail. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have time to answer every letter, e-mail and Post-it note that comes my way. But I'm making an exception this time, because:

1. I have the time.

2. A column is due in a few minutes.

3. Your mail is better than anything I could come up with on my own.

So, here goes.

Dear Editor Joe Sullivan: You used to write all the time about Mayor Al. How come you don't write so much about Mayor Jay? Are you playing favorites, or what?

-- Concerned Citizen

Dear Concerned Citizen: As Confucius would say: "Which dog earns his master's devotion? The champion of the breed, or the three-legged mutt?" Frankly, I don't exactly know how that applies, but I found it in this book, "Answers to Questions About Mayors." It sounds like it came from a fortune cookie. But that's my answer, and I'm sticking to it.

Mr. Editor: Do you really believe everything you're hearing about Proposition B? Don't you think there's a lot of crazy stuff going around?

-- Vote No on Everything

Dear Vote No on Everything: I don't believe anything I hear -- and only about half of what I see. I only believe what I read in the newspaper. After reading Speak Out, I'm pretty sure everyone in Jefferson City is either a crook or related to one by marriage. You could say the same thing about some of my relatives, too. But those crooks in government are the ones we turn to whenever we want something. It's easy to ask for goodies when they make so many promises. This, my friend, is democracy.

Dear Mr. Sullivan: This is an election year. Who's going to get your vote?

-- Interested Voter

Dear Interested Voter: The winners. I always vote for the candidates who win. At least that's all you need to know about my secret ballot. Who's getting your vote?

Hey, Joe: President Bush's approval ratings are headed for the toilet. How does that make you feel? I'll bet you're worried now. Ha. Ha.

-- A Democrat

Dear Democrat: He's your president for two more years. Ha. Ha.

Dear Editor: I read the Opinion page all the time. It seems to me like the editorials take sides -- usually the wrong one -- on a lot of issues. I thought the newspaper was supposed to be fair and balanced. How can you be impartial if you're always writing editorials that take sides?

-- Someone Who Disagrees a Lot

Dear Someone Who Disagrees a Lot: Thank you for noticing that the Southeast Missourian's editorials occasionally take sides. Most readers complain that our editorials are too middle-of-the-road, particularly on tough issues. Just let me say that I heartily agree with half of what you wrote and strongly disagree with the other half. If there were three halves, I'd have to be in the middle of the road on that one. I'm sure I've cleared up any confusion you have about all of this. But, on the other hand, maybe I haven't. I mean, you either get my point, or you don't. Make up your mind. Let's not beat around the bush.

Dear Joe: Suppose you're in a boat during an ocean storm and there are two men drowning. But the boat can only hold two people without sinking. In order for you to get to heaven, both men must be rescued. What do you do?

-- Philosopher

Dear Philosopher: Is this boat clearly labeled with an OSHA warning that states (a) its capacity and (b) an 800 number to call if you drown? If not, I don't see how I can possibly answer your question. I don't do theology.

R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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