Opinions, Letters To The Editor

LTE: In Response To Karl Salzmann’s Letters To ‘The Heights’

To the Editor:

To be fair, when my roommate first showed me Karl Salzmann’s first letter to the editor “A Response to ‘The Heights’ Coverage of Coates’ Talk,” I hoped John Oliver would wander onto The Heights website for his latest ammunition. As I read yet another LTE “The Only Race We Should Be Talking About Is NASCAR” and Salzmann’s subsequent chomp on the bait, I scrapped the idea of a segment on John Oliver and hoped for a full-blown reality series. And, given the responses in The Heights comments section and the shared Facebook posts on my news feed, I’m assuming most of you reading this thought his stance would be fit for a sitcom, too.

Yet, I want to take a moment to look at the totality of these letters, so bear with me. I read many comments suggesting Salzmann may be right, and many more condemning him as ignorant, sheltered, or just plain stupid. And I loved all of it. Every LTE he wrote. Every attacking or supporting comment. Hell, even every Facebook post about it. It was great, fantastic even. Let me explain….

I don’t love what Salzmann is saying. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone could.

I don’t even love that he’s speaking without fear of reputation tarnishing or hope of appeal to others. Although, many may find speaking your mind courageous (looking at those in Donald Trump’s camp).

But, I love that he can speak.

I love that he’s able, and apparently more than a little eager, to use his voice. I love that a black presidential hopeful can compare the sitting President’s healthcare policies to slavery. I love that a billionaire businessman with a fox on his head and an impregnable love of the word “China” can open his mouth to spew nonsense about one group of people one day and another the next. I love that a group of football players can help earn a more important victory off the field than they ever could on it.

Let’s take a wider scope, shall we. It seems every other day the news cycles are filled with outrageous, politically or factually incorrect claims by politicians, celebrities, or Facebook friends you haven’t unfriended yet. You may hate what these people are saying, but you should love that they can say it. You may think they are ignorant or uneducated, maybe even just plain stupid, but they have a right to be, don’t they?

The beauty of this entire situation is that it’s our right to make our own opinions and submit it to newspapers, or to post them on Facebook, or voice them in a conversation.

At the end of the day, we will progress because of our right to dialogue on anything and everything we choose. It is our right to our opinions, right or wrong, that push our country forward. Growth will only come with unbound dialogue, and unbound dialogue is only possible with freedom of speech.

I don’t like what Salzmann is saying or that he’s saying it, but I love that he can.


Spencer Olson

CSOM ’17

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Photo

November 16, 2015

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “LTE: In Response To Karl Salzmann’s Letters To ‘The Heights’”

  1. Dear Mr. Olson,

    Good stuff. You’re a very good writer, and I smiled at the Donald Trump line (“…with a fox on his head…”!).

    I appreciate your defense of my being able to say what I believe although you disagree with it. That is a bit of a relief in these dark days. With that said, I do have a few quibbles (as I’m sure you knew I would when you wrote).

    I didn’t like “You may think they’re ignorant or uneducated…” I’m not really offended, but it does seem to go against the grain of your argument that all perspectives should be heard and considered. I mean, it infers that I actually am ignorant, uneducated, or stupid! Maybe that wasn’t your intention; it just doesn’t seem quite so clear to me.

    “Frankly, I’m not sure anyone could.” You’d be surprised, Spencer. I received a lot of e-mails from conservatives afraid to speak their minds because of possible retribution from liberal classmates or professors. There’s a lot of us; it’s just difficult to speak out in our socially liberal political environment. You may disagree with the politics, but you should realize that we exist too.

    The first paragraph inferred that my ideas were so silly that they deserve only the sound stage of the sitcom. I guess that Edmund Burke, not to mention Washington and Lincoln, was similarly deserving?

    Once again, I do thank you for the piece. All liberals used to have the respect that you do. Never has one more missed FDR. Now, unfortunately, it’s little more than ad hominem attack and accusation of bias. All my best to you and your family.