Letter: The paper soldier's battleground

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To the editor:

"Americans, traditionally, love to fight." Those words, spoken by George C. Scott in the movie "Patton" during his portrayal of the flamboyant U.S. Army general, came to mind as I perused the opinion page of the November 8 issue of the Manchester Journal. I guess op-ed pieces have truly become the paper soldier's battleground for the new age.

In particular, my attention was drawn to the commentary submitted by Mr. Weiland Ross, expressing his opinion about both the coming of a T.J. Maxx store and a Journal article he refers to on that subject, supposedly treating it as a suspect event, "almost in the nature of an undesirable element." Curiously enough, in the second paragraph following, he says: "I know nothing about T.J. Maxx."

And here is the problem inherent with so many op-ed pieces that fan the proverbial flames of conflict and are getting so much ink in the press these days. Those things are written sometimes, I think, because they can be -- not because they should be. Given what I know first-hand about the T.J. Maxx chain, simply because I frequently drive to Rutland to shop there at its store, I'd welcome the opportunity to shop locally at a store where one can buy a designer-name shirt and pair of pants for less than a formal dinner for two.

The above-mentioned commentary finished by delving into the political arena which has become, I think, the equivalent of an American blood sport. One sees enough of it on the national news as it is. I for one, as someone who grew up in Manchester in the 1950s, wax nostalgic for the old days when political discussions were the things of polite discourse, and usually took place in such venues as Colburn's Barber Shop or at the two desks at the post office. There were no political stake signs on front lawns come November, and I seldom if ever saw political bumper stickers on cars. Apart from politics and just dealing with social stature and retail businesses alone, if a local was successful in business, he or she would buy a Buick, not a Cadillac (too ostentatious). The only man I knew who owned a Caddy was carnival owner "King Reid" Lefevre — after all, he was a showman.

With regard to the end of the commentary I mention here and its rather incendiary denigration of current members of "the party of Jefferson, Madison, FDR and JFK," the words of another of their ilk, Harry Truman, come to mind as one possible solution for the writer's angst in having to watch the current Congressional proceedings and political brawling as the hands of the clock go 'round and the ink in his pen starts to cause another itch in his fingers: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Philip R. Jordan




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