The Way To Treat A Poison Letter

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
   -Martin Luther King, Jr.

In doing good, we are generally cold, and languid, and sluggish; and of all things afraid of being too much in the right. But the works of malice and injustice are quite in another style. They are finished with a bold, masterly hand ; touched as they are with the spirit of those vehement passions that call forth all our energies, whenever we oppress and persecute.
-Edmund Burke

Shortly before our October 1st issue came out, we received a poison letter in the mail, copy furnished to a number of Filipino American publications and some select community leaders. The letter was so vile that after reading it, I didn’t even want to talk about it with anyone. Neither did I have the urge to call the people who were the object of the nasty accusations, mudslinging and ugly name calling – first, because to do so would be to unwittingly breathe life into that gossip and second, I couldn’t possibly think of a way to bring it up knowing it would be hurtful to these people, all of whom happened to be our good friends. But even if they are not our friends, no one, especially not these people, deserved that nastiness.
I certainly wished I didn’t have to write about it, after all, it circulated and the word just got passed only around a small circle of community leaders and acquaintances. I waited to see the wisdom of writing about it and finally decided it could be a good idea to weigh in on the subject without talking about the specifics of the letter to avoid adding fuel to the fire and hurting its victims even more.
But there was no stopping the rumor from making its rounds among small groups of familiar names and faces that have sadly and most unfortunately dominated the Fil-Am socials for many years. So, when asked by some friends what we thought of it, Bart responded emphatically that the letter was downright ugly and that those people didn’t deserve the attacks heaped on them.
It alleged, among other things, of the monies made by the people mentioned, from the fundraising events they produce and questioned if the money raised actually went to the purported beneficiaries. It also hinted of one having built her mansion in the Philippines from her fundraising efforts. Furthermore, it alleged of one writer’s inferior writings compared to her colleagues in the paper where she writes. All other allegations the letter raised were nothing but personal attacks that should not even merit discussion on any level.
But to go back to the allegations of fundraisings for personal gain in the guise of charity and the so-alleged undeserved space as columnist/writer for a publication, an anonymous poison letter only takes away any speck of credibility it might have. To bring up this issue in a format like the anonymous writer had taken, is to wash away the merit his or her issue could have had.
For the point of a criticism is to get to the truth and find the solution – right a wrong, vindicate the good and just and move on – none of which could be achieved by a nefarious poison letter that unleashes abominable accusations and negative opinions of the person or persons under attack. It is underhanded, unwarranted and most of all, undeserving of the attention it is getting.
Opinions, no matter how ridiculous or reprehensible to others, are right and significant to the one who owns them. And in a democratic society, opinions maybe value judgments but they are nevertheless encouraged and expressed in an open forum of equally interested minds. But to waste our time wallowing on unscrupulous actions of some people is to contribute to continue to sustain and breathe life into this evil that only demeans our name.
Finally, I endeavored to weigh in on this issue with the end in view of making our community of so-called leaders to start speaking up against the wicked ways of some of us and dare to stand for the truth, for justice and everything good and productive.

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