Letter: Insults are not arguments

Posted 2/8/23

To the editor:

I want to address Ms. Arelene Violet's article in last week's Barrington Times. Unfortunately, Ms. Violet's hostile language did little more than vilify and divide an already …

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Letter: Insults are not arguments


To the editor:

I want to address Ms. Arelene Violet's article in last week's Barrington Times. Unfortunately, Ms. Violet's hostile language did little more than vilify and divide an already split country. It is a shame that such tactics have become a common substitute for convincing arguments. 

Another tactic increasingly used is the manipulation of language. For example, take the word "racist." This word has always meant something akin to: the belief that one race is superior to another. Today, the percentage of people deserving of such a label is relatively small and is cause for celebration, but this is not good for those who view the world through the lens of CRT/Marxism/DEI where one is nothing more than their identity group. Where you ARE your identity group, in such a world, everything is divided into the oppressors vs. the oppressed. For those who hold this view, the narrowly defined word "racist" is not useful, so what do you do? Of course, you change the definition. The new definition of "racist" will be: anyone who disagrees or criticizes the positions of the CRT/Marxist/DEI Crowd, who, for simplicity's sake, will hereafter be identified as CRTMDEI-C. 

Let's take a look at another word: "xenophobe." Traditionally, this meant: an unjustified fear and often hostile dislike of foreigners. Such a definition isn't very useful to the CRTMDEI-C, so it must be changed and is now redefined as: anyone who believes a nation should have control over its borders. Nice! Now all those who merely think we should have a secure border can be smeared as - xenophobes!  

I am sure many are already aware of this, but just a side note, all of the definitions discussed, and many others, are ONLY applicable to conservatives, libertarians, traditional liberals, and other open-minded, critically thinking individuals who think for themselves. Such labels should NEVER, under ANY circumstances, be applied to the CRTMDEI-C. 

Moving on. How about “election denier”? This seems to mean: any independent-minded thinker who expresses concerns about an election's integrity. Such questioning is not acceptable - why? Why is it not ok to express concerns? After all, most people know and accept that the 2020 election was one of the most unusual elections in history. In fact, it was so suspicious and concerning that 140+ representatives asked for a delay in the certification so that matters could be investigated and addressed. The measure failed, and the certification took place. We had an opportunity to strengthen our system, and our leaders blew it. To me, this was foolishly dangerous. "Consent of the governed" means something, and if the People lose trust in the system, then at some point, those in power will no longer have consent. And what do you think happens after that? It never ceases to amaze me how naive and foolish people can be. Democracy only survives when people have faith in the system, and instead of rebuilding it, they choose to denigrate one another. 

In closing, I would like to share some final thoughts. To survive as a free nation, we must think for ourselves and be willing to seek the truth. We must speak out against the lies and half-truths that we are told. We should avoid engaging in ad hominem attacks and question those who do. Never try to win by silencing the opposition. Listen and give people the benefit of the doubt. Seek both sides of an issue. And lastly, always be kind and charitable, which can often be the most challenging thing of all. 

Matthew Fletcher


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.