I want letters

December 10th, 2009

So my past couple columns have been pretty critical of the Catholic Church. I accused it of sexual discrimination, homophobia, strong-arming society, and blackmailing Congress. I also called it misogynic, elitist, bigoted, ignorant, stubborn, unsympathetic, disconnected and bullheaded. And since we received no letters to the editor from anyone trying to counter my arguments, I’m assuming you all agree with me.

Now this newspaper isn’t exactly The New York Times, and this campus isn’t exactly Harvard, so I don’t expect someone to write a letter about every single column I write. But this is a Catholic university, and I at least thought that someone would try to stand up for the Church by writing a letter in defense of its teachings and policies.

That isn’t to say that I wrote these columns specifically to be controversial and provoke some type of response from the student body. I believe in and mean every single word that I write.

But this newspaper isn’t simply a pedestal from which I can preach my point of view. It’s a dialogue for introducing new ideas, questioning old ones, and engaging in intelligent debates that have the potential to sharpen our beliefs and increase our understanding of the issues facing society. Or at least it could be. But without participation from the student body, the only side of the story that gets heard is mine.

Now I won’t kid myself. For as much as I would like to think that all of you agree with everything I write, I know that isn’t the case. Especially with my recent columns on the Church, I know for a fact that more than a few people disagreed with, and perhaps were even offended by, what I had to say.

But no one wrote a letter expressing these thoughts. And when you don’t express your thoughts, everyone loses: you miss an opportunity to stand up for what you believe in, readers of this newspaper only get one side of the argument, and I don’t get a chance to defend or improve my arguments.

So here’s the deal. It’s time for the student body to take a more active role in its newspaper. Next semester marks the beginning of a new decade, which gives us a chance to set a new tone on this campus. And I want letters.

I’m not asking for a letter every week. Sometimes my columns can be pretty dry, uncontroversial, or talk about subjects that most people don’t know a lot about (for example, Middle Eastern politics or, my personal favorite, non-profit health insurance cooperatives).

But if you come across something in my column that you don’t agree with, or you come up with an idea you want to share, or you simply want to add to an argument that I made, take the initiative to get involved in the discussion by writing a letter to the editor. It doesn’t have to be an essay – a simple paragraph or two would be just fine.

This newspaper has a lot of potential. Although it was named the best weekly college newspaper in Ohio, it could be even better next year if the student body were only to increase its participation. It’s not too much to ask, but a little effort on your part could go a long way towards making this campus a place where ideas flourish and debate thrives.