Bob's Talking Points
by Bob Montańéz

Lately, it has become very apparent to anyone who reads the Odessa American that my opponents’ responses to my letters to the editor do not reflect civil nor educated discussions, arguments or debates but, instead, consist of concentrated vicious and slanderous name calling as their only defense. It does not help either when the Odessa American editor, Laura Dennis, imposes a double standard on letters submitted to the editor.

Dennis has informed me that the O.A. met concerning my inappropriate use of the term, “Princess Pocahontas Who Speaks With a Forked Tongue,” and that the newspaper would not print my letter because it had to protect its letter writers against such language. While the term was rather silly, it does not compare to the vitriolic language with which I have been subjected. I can only conclude that the O.A. did not feel that I qualified for the same protection. Anyway, I felt that I could take all the stone throwing as long as I could express my freedom of speech.

This freedom of speech apparently is meant for only those who are of the extreme right wing conservative persuasion; and, when ole Bob makes his opinion known, it becomes an intolerable threat to the great sanctity of West Texas conservatism. Never mind that I am the only local resident expressing a different opinion in an enormous sea of West Texas conservative cynicism and unchallenged dominance.

When I asked for the criteria utilized by the editor for accepting or denying letters with vitriolic language, Dennis send me the “Your Opinion is Welcome” ad on the Public Forum page. When I replied that this was not the criteria I had requested, she informed me that “There was nothing else to discuss.”

In addition, the supposedly qualified editor has on several occasions distorted my letters (I believe on purpose) and never offered an explanation nor an apology in the newspaper in spite of the fact that I have witnessed many times when the newspaper has apologized to other persons for its own mistakes.

Though I have written letters on several issues, I have been accused of not writing about anything new. Therefore, my letters are deemed tiresome. This accusation, I believe, is due to the defenses I have offered when I have endured vitriolic accusations and when I have utilized the Constitution as a response. For a minority to do this, it is a great “NO-NO” since apparently there is something wrong with a minority believing in constitutional rights. I am just supposed to feel shame, keep my head down and say nothing when some wish to only insult and denigrate.

I wish to add that a newspaper such as the O.A. should not exist when it represents only the pervasive opinion of those who will not tolerate opposing opinions. The O.A. does not need my support in any way and, therefore, I have cancelled my subscription. I seriously doubt that it will ever publish anymore of my letters. It is quite clear to me who the O.A. wishes to protect from the great threat I represent.

Though I always have spoken up about difficult issues that many would just prefer to push under the rug, I have been called among many things “a coward.” It will be interesting to see how many out there will be courageous enough to pick up the gauntlet now. I feel, unfortunately, the majority will find it easier to say or do nothing at all and that, perhaps, is the greatest threat to all of us.

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The views expressed in these Commentaries do not necessarily reflect the views of Una Voz Unida of Odessa.