Patricia Hall -- Use this one

Patricia Hall

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Some of you love Spout Off because of the window it provides into the minds of our community. Some of you hate Spout Off because of the window it provides into the minds of our community. I agree with both groups. Some of you read it to get a laugh and some love you read it in order to cringe and say, “How could they.”  I agree with both groups. 

Spout Off, love it or hate it, is one of the two most read sections in the Herald. We strain our Covid-diminished resources to cover the county and municipal governments. We try very hard to cover all things of community interest. All of it cost money. It’s not that you, our readers, are not interested in all of these topics but there is something in our psyche that likes to look into an uncensored mind. We humans like to know what makes people tick and I imagine that is the reason for the popularity of the almost free-to-produce “Spout Off.”  

For many years I was pretty removed from the Spouters’ world. As with the rest of the universe, this year was different in our house. Our wonderful, loyal staff was squeezed to the bone and as in all family businesses, all hands are now on deck. 

Now is the time to reveal my secret life as that much despised “Spout Off Editor.” It is only fair to remove that stigma from Managing Editor Erin Ledwon because many assume she was the one deleting Spouts and rewriting others.  I take all the blame from those who accuse me of being a “liberal turncoat commie spy,” or on the same day a “confirmed pick up truck driving, flag waving Trump supporter.” In an attempt, before the election, to serve as an impartial editor, I would keep tabs on “liberal” versus “conservative” entries so that both points of view were equally expressed. After the voting, I eliminated that exercise and just let the Spouters slug it out. If I would make an editorial comment, I was attacked with equal fervor by both sides. That gave me comfort in knowing that American freedom of speech was unfettered. 

Doing this job has given me a new appreciation for the role of free speech in our country and has also encouraged me. I’m encouraged by something I want to share with my countryman who are red and my countryman who are blue. I’ve read your Spout Offs and have determined that underneath your colors, you’re both Americans who love our land. You bash and accuse and make great fun of each others’ point of view. Each side seems certain that if the opposition would only read this or that, listen to the right newscasters, read the correct blogs, he would be convinced that the only way to save our great nation would be to vote either Trump or Biden. As far apart as the opinions ranged, there was always a common thread, “Save our beloved country.” Those on the left and those on the right love our great country, not because it’s perfect but because it’s ours, and we think it’s got a good chance of getting better.  

So from your Spout Off Editor, keep those opinions flowing and I will do my best to represent you fairly according to the rules posted.  I only ask you to be as kind as you can given that your opponent is likely to disagree vehemently with everything you say. But remember both of you love our country and are genuinely trying to make it better. 

Now that the election is over, I expect to be deeply enmeshed in local issues and equally offending all sides by deleting your Spouts or editing out the particularly clever name you made up for your offensive neighbor. Why don’t you surprise me with a positive Spout? They make my day! Happy New Year.  

Patricia Hall 

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