New year new view
Probably the most famous letter to the editor was that of eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon to the editor of New York’s Sun, published Sep 21, 1897, which led to the editorial “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” The most important part of the letter really was: “Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun it’s so,” a statement that should still ring true for all newspapers, but now faces attack from false news and missing or misleading news. The world would be a better place if everybody wrote letters to the editor. The basis of this idea is aspirational: It would mean that all people could read, reason and write; they had sufficient leisure time to consider issues; they can afford a newspaper and a stamp, or have access to email; and more importantly they live in a world where it is safe to express an opinion openly. Too many voices are quashed either by fear or a lack of opportunity. I have written to many newspapers including many of the best (yours) and some of the lesser newspapers (theirs). The opportunity to read and compare newspapers and especially their editorials has allowed me to see issues from many viewpoints. There are many peaceful ways of advocating for a cause and letter writing should be one of the first to be used. We need to remind our leaders that they are meant to be inspirational and the best the country has to offer.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne, Australia