Op-Ed

Gallman: Letter writers invaluable to a democracy

The longtime letter writer specialized in the pithy — three-sentence missives sometimes clever, sometimes opaque.

What frustrated was his insistence on rewriting each letter a few times before it could be published, without much discernible difference in clarity or point of view.

It was not until I read his obituary a few months ago that I saw his rewrites may not have resulted from haste or second guessing.

The engineer/inventor/musician/pilot could have aimed for precision in those sparse words, to sculpt them into an art form.

Knowing more about him made me appreciate the care he put into the thoughts he shared with the world.

The Herald-Leader is blessed with loyal letter writers whose opinions add passion, intellect and sometimes quirkiness to our pages. The editorial board wanted to learn more about the people who have been writing to the paper for years.

Over the next month or so, we'll share a little information about them in the paper and on Kentucky.com. Other regular contributors we have yet to contact are free to submit answers to the questions and a photo.

In this era of anonymous online commenting, it takes a certain amount of courage to share your views and put your name to them. Letter writers' willingness to take stands — challenging government, each other and often the paper's opinions — helps build our democracy. That's worthy of recognition and respect.

Based on responses to my column on syndicated writers, the paper will publish writers George Will and Charles Krauthammer on a trial basis. Feedback appreciated.

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