Every Thursday, an article by syndicated columnist Walter Williams is published in this paper. Every Thursday, I read said article and fear its ramifications.
Williams positions himself as the conservative voice of reason amid liberal nonsense. While I completely agree that hearing both sides of an argument is the first critical step in public discourse, the way Williams presents his articles is completely antithetical to civil and productive conversation. Such conversation is necessary in today’s politically polarized climate, and continuing to print Williams’ articles will only further divide this country, from right here in Cedar Rapids.
For one, Williams uses name-calling against liberals in his articles, a gesture that is specifically mentioned in the guidelines for these letters to the editor as “just plain rude.” Furthermore, name-calling from a syndicated columnist carries an authoritative backing, and becomes all the proof that others need to name-call liberals in the real world.
Secondly, Williams, as a voice of opposition, does not intend to facilitate conversation. I sent him an email in response to an article I particularly took issue with. His response to me was that I should email him again in three or four years if I still felt the way I did. He was patronizing and failed to engage in discussion about his writing in a way that any controversial writer should be obliged to. Our country and community are too divided to sponsor the offensive and outdated vitriol that Williams spews.