Friday, April 07, 2006

Letters to the editor

I like writing letters to the Orlando Sentinel. Usually, they get published. Not always, but generally speaking, they do. Editors like you to write about topical subjects that are brought up in their publications. Since I live in the Orlando area, that's where I send them.

In the summer of 1998, there was a permit applied for and approved by city officials of Orlando to display Gay Pride flags on city lamp posts during their annual fest and parade. Any group can apply for it. My opinion on that is not one way or the other and that wasn't what I wrote about, although, I don't wear red shirts any longer because that's the color they wear to Disney to announce their sexual persuasion. It seems that Pat Robertson caught wind of the permit issue and made one of his many now famous remarks, blasting Orlando. He said that it was courting natural disaster by allowing gay pride flags to be flown.

"It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor," he said, referring to his belief that the presence of openly gay people incurs the wrath of God through divine intervention by destroying areas that allow gay people the same civil liberties as others. Imagine that, God may also employ terrorists. He went on to state, "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

We had been in the midst of a horrible drought and had not seen rain in several months. That Sunday night, the skies opened up and we got a tremendous downpour. In Central Florida, it could be raining on one side of the street and sunny on the other, so I don't know how much of the area got drenched. That Monday morning, July 6, I e-mailed a letter to the editor and it was printed the next day. All it said was:

"I just wanted to thank Pat Robertson for the rain." As if he was God. The funny thing is, though, my timing was just right. Monday, it rained like cats and dogs all over the place.

Also in 1998, the NBA players went on strike. None of my sports-minded friends felt any compassion for the already overpaid ath-elites. As the strike went into the otherwise Christmas holiday season of giving, I thought of another letter to send off, this time, addressing the players:

"Oh, I almost forgot. How selfish of me. Season's Greedings to the National Basketball Association." It was published on Dec. 30 of that year and the strike was soon over, although, not on account of my letter, that's for sure. I'm sure the players ended up with what they wished for.

I think everyone should voice opinions, regardless of which side of the fence they sit on, on any issue, as long as it's fresh and pertinent news. Some of my letters are longer than those two examples. Certainly, my published articles are. Hopefully, they make readers think about things and encourage feedback.

We can still do that here. And we should.

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