Apologies in advance for the following rant:

In the northern half of Oklahoma, about 42 miles southwest of Tulsa, is the small town of Drumright. (It is the hometown of one of the co-publishers of the newspaper where I work here in Tishomingo.) One of the regular features in their local newspaper, the Drumright Gusher, is a weekly column by a non-apologetic right-wing Trump-supporting Neanderthal by the name of Ed J. Lebeau III. 

Mr. Lebeau devoted one of his recent columns to a tedious comparison of Bernie Sanders’ campaign platform to the 1936 Soviet Constitution. Along the way he gets in his typical jabs at those who are concerned about climate change and white supremacy, and who are offended by Trump’s words, deeds and behavior. He also expresses disdain for those who support such things as (and this is HIS list, quoted verbatim) “equal rights for women, free education, free healthcare, the right to choose your profession and be trained in that profession.”

Roughly halfway through the column he begins to refer to such people was “statists” - a term first coined in the 1850s to define those who believe that “the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree.” (I looked it up.) From there he goes on to talk about how “Liberty has served us well,” but for the life of him he can’t figure out why people would support such horrible notions as equal rights, fighting climate change, etc.

Finally, near the end of this bellicose barrage of belligerent bilgewater, he makes the following statement:

“If you are not a communist or a statist, and you are enamored of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or more most of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls, then maybe you should think again about what you believe.”

Now, I’ll admit that I have still not as of yet made up my mind which Democratic Presidential candidate I’ll be supporting. (At the moment I am firmly in the “Anybody but Trump” camp, which is sufficient for my peace of mind until I can narrow the field down in my mind a bit more.) 

But I will also admit that this guy’s usual “if you don’t support Trump you’re not American” stance had already worn pretty thin with me well before reading this particular column. And his apparent belief that “the right to choose your profession and be trained in that profession” should somehow be anathema to the ideals expressed by our Founding Fathers just plain cheesed me off.

So this morning I fired off the following letter to the editor, just to get it off my chest. I harbor no illusions that it will see publication; not every paper is willing to publish opposing points of view the way mine does. Which is why I’m sharing said letter here now. At least this way it will be a part of the public record.

The letter reads as follows:

To The Editor:

With regards to a comment made by Ed J. Lebeau III in his Aug. 29 edition of ‘Against the Grain,’ and with all due respect to a fellow newspaper columnist, I wish to offer the following rebuttal.

If you are not a racist or a Klansman, and you are enamored of Donald Trump, then maybe YOU should think again about what you believe.

Liberty has indeed served us well. But Liberty weeps today as a result of the injuries inflicted upon her by the current occupant of the Oval Office. 

My late grandfather was among those members of the Greatest Generation who went to Europe and fought a war to save other parts of the world from precisely the same kind of evil that endangers the United States today. As much as I miss my grandfather, who passed away in 1981, there is a part of me who is grateful that he did not live to see what is happening in this country today. He would be so disappointed, and so angry.

God bless America, indeed. We need all the help we can get.


John A. Small


No, it won’t change his mind - or anybody else’s for that matter. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebeau doesn’t take some personal shots at me in some future column - including, no doubt, a few juvenile derogatory comments about my last name. (I get those a lot from people incapable of intelligent debate. It is apparently SO much easier to just call me “Small minded” or “Small thinking” than it is to come up with an actual response with any kind of substance.) 

But that’s okay. Sticks and stones, and all that jazz. I’ve never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer - but my parents did teach me right from wrong, and Lebeau is as wrong as they come.

And I feel better for having told him so.

End of rant.