Differing opinions often lead to common ground

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"That's the absolute worst thing I've ever seen in that newspaper. I can't believe you stooped so low as to put that in there."

Those words, paraphrased, greeted me on my office voicemail last week. The caller, a nice man from South Point named "Bill" was upset by a political cartoon that appeared on this page last week.

The cartoon, drawn by a syndicated cartoonist, whose work we purchase in bulk, featured a small child sitting on Santa's lap. A puzzled Santa asks the boy why he'd want two Ken dolls.

Email newsletter signup

The cartoon was an obvious reference to the ever-growing issue of homosexuality in our society.

The cartoon was chosen because the managing editor Michael Caldwell and I both felt it was an interesting commentary on how America has changed.

"Bill" believed the newspaper's decision to publish the cartoon was some kind of endorsement for homosexuality.

That, of course, wasn't the case. In fact, a number of people looking at the same cartoon saw it as a rather disturbing, if true, bit of modern-day commentary.

Years ago, most young children didn't have a clue what homosexuality was. Today, with conflicting messages bombarding them from all sides, modern day youth know far too much about such topics traditionally reserved for adult conversation.

As with many items that appear on these pages, from letters to the editor to editorial cartoons, each bit of opinion is subject to interpretation.

And that interpretation can cover a wide gamut.

But the purpose of any opinion you see on these pages is to spark discussion. If anything on these pages does that, the page is successful.

Last week, I know the page was successful, at least a bit, because I got to speak with this nice man from South Point. And in the conversation, we found some common ground upon which we both agreed.

Only weeks before, the nation saw lots of media attention focused on a growing number of retailers who are "de-Christmasing" the holidays. Basically, they've chosen to use phrases such as "Happy Holidays" in place of the traditional "Merry Christmas." The move is allegedly an aim not to offend persons in our country who are not Christian or who do not wish to celebrate Christmas.

"Bill" works for an area telemarketing company who requires its employees to downplay the "Christmas" and up-play the "holiday."

"We get in trouble if we say it to a caller," he said. "But it's OK if they say it first."


We both agreed.

And before I hung up the telephone with Bill, I sent him off with a little "Merry Christmas, Bill."

On the other end of the line, I heard a chuckle first, followed by a "Merry Christmas to you, too."

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445, ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.