The letter from a citizen of Cumberland in the Nov.19 Forecaster demanding that Tony Payne be forbidden column space is odd, even a little weird. The writer’s objection boils down to this, that Mr. Payne, as an elected official “… should be responsible enough to know that publishing his political point of view on a regular basis shows a lack of principle.”
Well, if it does then Maine’s four congressmammals are all equally irresponsible and unprincipled. Their columns appear regularly in dozens of community papers throughout the state, and they get this free space precisely because they are elected officials.
The writer acknowledges that Mr. Payne is eloquent, thoughtful and a skillful writer. This, perhaps, is the best argument for denying him column space. The weekly effusions from Washington are invariably dull boilerplate written, I am certain, by some obscure staffer. I would be surprised – nay, flabbergasted – to discover that more than six people in the entire state read them on a regular basis. They get our elected officials’ names and pictures in the papers. Name recognition being the key to election and re-election, that is enough.
I propose a compromise. Persuade Mr. Payne to write dull, thoughtless and semi-literate columns that no one actually reads. Problem solved.