From its inception in 2004, NA Confidential has been about ideas.
From the beginning, we have suggested that if the city of New Albany’s collective experience over past decades has come to mirror insanity, i.e., the constant repetition of the same act over and over in the hope that the outcome might someday be different, then perhaps it is time at long last to learn from these mistakes, to study the underlying assumptions in light of verifiable reality in other locales, to implement possible solutions based on the veracity of these realities, and in short, alter the self-defeating paradigm.
From early discussions about the creative class, through examinations of New Urbanism, and always set against a backdrop of our local political class’s often bewildered and generally hostile attitude toward virtually anything that smacks of change, we have provided abundant and cogent reasoning for our positions. I needn’t do more to support this point than recommend a casual perusal of close to 2,000 postings over this period, as well as the comments attached and discussions engendered.
It is an impressive body of work by anyone’s definition, and I'm proud of it. Yes, we’ve missed a few, but hit or miss, we’ve always taken full and unqualified responsibility for our words by signing our names and being here to engage in the dialogue. We have not been afraid.
It’s been a while since we reprinted the following letter to the editor from Stars and Stripes (July 22-28, 2001; Pacific edition). It remains a powerful statement from a serviceman about those qualities that the majority of New Albanians, if asked, would quickly claim as their own: Courage, honor, integrity and responsibility.
Unfortunately, there are those for whom these concepts are variable and optional, to be forgotten in the heat of bilious attacks and expressions of hatred, and that’s rather sad, because in the end, anonymity is an act of vandalism, and …
Anonymity is cowardly.
In reply to the July 18 letter “Benefits of anonymity,” I must strongly disagree with the characterization of Stars and Stripes’ policy on anonymous letters as cowardly. Anonymity, on the other hand, is essentially a cowardly way to get one’s point across without having to actually put anything at risk. Honor and courage dictate that any just cause is worthy of risking something of value.
How effective would the “95 Theses” have been if Martin Luther had nailed them up signed “Anonymous?” And how about an anonymous “Declaration of Independence?” Abraham Lincoln could have written an anonymous “Emancipation Proclamation,” and maybe spared his own life at the hands of bigots.
When you truly feel that you are right, even about small matters, don’t be too cowardly to put your name on it.
I agree with the assessment of hypocrisy, and I despise the media — Stars and Stripes included — practice of quoting unnamed or unidentified sources. Most readers are educated, and quick to discount such spineless drivel.
Anonymity is too often a shield for lies and exaggerations, and is widely recognized as such. As an American and a Marine, I am happy to have a forum that will print the voice of dissent, as long as it is not skulking in the shadows.
The letter writer has sadly mistaken “freedom of speech” for “freedom from accountability.” The Stars and Stripes policy only censors those who are looking to whine without repercussion or who have no stomach for defending what they believe is right. People who will not identify themselves, censor themselves. They can pity themselves anonymously too, I don’t want to hear it.
Please don’t complain “out of respect … for those who serve today.” That’s me. I can complain for myself, and I’ll sign my name to it when I do.
Jerry M. Milton
Camp Foster, Okinawa