Lance Scranton: On substance
I’ve been blessed enough to be able to write a column for The Craig Press for a whole bunch of years with a short break tucked into a span of almost 10 years — maybe more! The opportunity to practice a skill that I preach daily as an English instructor in our local high school has been both rewarding and, at times, informing.
Putting your name ahead of your thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives has made for some interesting feedback from readers. One handwritten letter addressed to my home residence asked me why I didn’t just quit teaching altogether and leave town because my perspectives were stupid and I was an ignorant, hypocritical, idiot who had no business influencing teenagers. That letter was in response to my conviction that people should be careful how they judge others when the full story hasn’t been told which I shared about an event that ended in my termination as a football coach some years ago. The author of the letter provided a return name and address — which I respected — but I didn’t think a response was likely to do any good as they had obviously made up their mind about my character, or lack thereof!
Another reader sent an anonymous letter to The Craig Press offices in which I was excoriated for my views on a possible Trump presidency. The author accused me of siding with the bestial patriarchy in this country whose sole purpose was to keep women subjugated. I was named as a probable sexist who should refrain from describing women as, “the fairer sex.” This person went on to guarantee me that Trump would certainly lose the election and that the voices of women in America were going to be heard throughout every single ballot box in the nation and I would finally understand that women had arrived as the dominant voice in American electoral politics. I appreciated her perspective — she was right about the influence of women — and although she had some choice adjectives to describe certain of my anatomical parts, I didn’t feel compelled to respond in kind. I hoped that after the election was concluded, she wasn’t too disappointed and managed to adjust to our current president.
However, a majority of readers have taken a few minutes out of their day to let me know in writing or conversation that they appreciate my willingness to put down in words what they think. While they don’t always agree, they appreciate my candor and that I have obviously thought through and considered that which I write about each week. The substance of what I write about each week is in large part due to the students I am privileged to teach, my parents who raised me to value perspectives, my attention to the specifics and details of our culture and society, and the liberty The Craig Press gives me to put words to just one voice in the crowd.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to exercise the fundamental right and duty to free speech in a culture that increasingly is trying to squelch the ideal.