Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Hot summer days make for agitated people. Agitated people were out in full force last week, taking direct aim at this writer. Mostly the aim was directed toward my essay, “STOP PLAYING THE RACE CARD.” One of my premises was that we had grown up as a nation, and I was tired of people trying to make race an issue, when it really wasn’t. Specifically I was writing about the George Zimmerman trial and reaction to the verdict.
It’s been a long while since I’ve had so much reaction to an opinion piece. I got my share of slaps on the back saying “I’m right on” and I’m the only one with guts enough to print the truth. Those phone calls and emails were really nice to receive.
But a greater number of negatives comments, phone calls, emails and letters came my way. Most writers seem to suggest I am racially insensitive. Now this comes as a surprise to me. I have a brother-in-law and two nieces that are African American. I came very close to getting engaged to an African-American lady. I didn’t take a poll, but I believe they all would have given “thumbs up” to what I wrote. And by golly, I’m 100% sure, they would never consider me a “racist” or “racially insensitive.”
I will write one item again. I truly believe Al Sharpton, and to a lesser extent, Jesse Jackson, have made a lot of money organizing protests against what they believe are racial injustices. If the race card went away, they would no longer be in business.
Sorry if this offends some readers. I don’t pull any punches. I believe in telling it like it is, and I’ve been told over and over, that’s why many people read this newspaper. You might not like our opinions- that’s certainly your prerogative, but hopefully, you will respect us for airing them.
And then a few people from Marion have taken me to task for some of the stories we have written on the “hot potato” Osceola County EMS issue. Before and after Osceola County Commissioners voted to build a new EMS facility in Marion, Commission meetings have been filled with protestors demanding the Marion facility be denied and that a facility be built in the County’s northwest quadrant instead.
Let me get this straight. As a newspaper locating in Marion, we are in support of the Marion EMS facility. We’ve editorialized to that effect. We have written stories relating what people are saying at the Commission meetings. We have written stories about those opposed to the Marion site. Some people seem to think because we are called The Marion Press, the negative stories have no place in the newspaper. We feel it is our editorial duty to present all sides. Furthermore we are more than just a Marion paper. We have large amounts of papers distributed in Evart and other Osceola communities as well as Missaukee county.
Then there’s the lady that complained about my “tongue-in-cheek turtle racing story. She apparently found no humor in the fact that my wife and I have partaken in a couple of turtle races in the last two years. She says keeping the turtles in captivity and then forcing them to race other turtles is downright cruel. Again, I appreciate her opinion, but ever since I was a toddler, I have observed turtles being raced at fairs and carnivals all over Michigan and Florida. I guess I never surmised someone would think that is cruel.
Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate readers taking the time to make that phone call or write the email. It is very important, in my opinion, to share different viewpoints, and just because we might disagree on one issue, doesn’t mean we disagree on all.
Thanks for your input- keep it coming.