“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Treadmill

Two or three months ago I noticed a new member at the health club who bore a striking resemblance to regular Globe-Republican guest columnist Virgil Van Camp. The racist overtones that typify Virgil's writing make him a frequent target of PTS criticism. Well, you can imagine that I felt a bit awkward when Virgil struck up a conversation with me a couple of days ago. We only spoke for a few minutes, just "how about that weather" stuff. Believe it or not he actually managed to take a small swipe at blacks during our brief visit. I debated whether or not to formally introduce myself. Would he recognize me as one of his liberal counterparts in Amarillo's political forum? If so, what would be his reaction? Some good natured ribbing over politics or that icy cold stare that makes me want to install security cameras at my house? You never know what your going to get. Ultimately no names were exchanged, though I'm sure they'll come up sooner or later.

If there is a lesson in this I suppose it would be that calling someone a racist in print is easier than looking them square in the eye and saying it. Or maybe that's just an observation. I'm not entirely sure what the lesson is. The truth, or at least personal conviction, shouldn't be sacrificed in the name of politeness. A spade should still be called a spade, but how does one do so in a civilized manner, especially in this day of venomous public debate?