By AmbrÖese Bierce. Who Do You Think You Are? That’s the gist of the correspondence I received this week and have decided to publish, unedited, because I think, whatever the answers are to the questions asked – they should come from the readers, writers, contributors and citizens who have made this community news website their own.
When I first sent this to my editor I was concerned he might take offense but I was pleasantly surprised to find that he wanted me to publish it verbatim because, he said, “It’s a good question. We should let the people of Abbotsford answer that question.”
Let’s find out.
Dear Ambroese Bierce,
Abbotsford Today has had a lot of fun at the expense of the good people who built this city and you’ve called a lot of people names and pointed out their faults but I haven’t heard a lot of constructive or useful alternatives to the decisions we’ve made in building a city we like to think is based on Christian values.
Perhaps you don’t have the same value system, and, at the risk of being hit with one of your sarcastic diatribes, I ask you this – what makes your value system better than ours?
Who are you to tell us that our city doesn’t measure up? Why don’t you express your dislike for the values and beliefs of a community more to your liking instead of continually telling us how wrong we are in the way we approach things?
Mayor Banman may seem a little silly at times. Maybe he doesn’t think enough before he speaks but he is welcome in my home any time. He has the good, old fashioned values I grew up with. He believes in hard work and the value of a job well done. He doesn’t think people should be rewarded for making bad choices. He may be simple but that doesn’t make him wrong.
You regularly attack people like John Smith and Dave Loewen just because they made decisions you disagree with and cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. Well, maybe it takes guts to risk what you snidely call ‘their friends and neighbours money’. Maybe they were visionaries and maybe they would have done things differently if they had known it wasn’t going to work out.
Maybe you would have made the same mistakes – except, wait a minute, maybe you wouldn’t have dared take the risk.
Fine … mistakes were made. Get over it and be part of the solution instead of destroying the reputations of the people who had the courage to risk their reputation by making the decisions you object to.
You seem to object to the religious make-up of our community. You seem to think you have a better way of running things than the ways we have made a part of our community life for 100 years. That’s fine. You are welcome to your views. No one attacks you for yours. I wish you would stop attacking others for theirs.
Some of us don’t believe in the treatments you praise like giving free drugs to drug addicts or rewarding bad decisions with free housing. That doesn’t make us bad … it just makes us different than you. The fact that we have a loud and vocal group of homeless people who seem to like to protest doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.
Maybe they should consider living in one of the cities where they give out free drugs and reward bad behaviour. Why don’t they just move?
You seem to take a great deal of pleasure in attacking what you call the ‘old newspapers’ of Abbotsford. One no longer exists but the other seems to be doing just fine publishing the kind of journalism you make fun of. It has even taken to publishing news on the Internet where you like to publish what you call news.
Yes our newspaper presents the views of solid and respectable organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, our churches and the Historic Abbotsford Downtown Business Association. So what. That’s its job.
Without a newspaper which speaks to the people of the community who may not understand what is going on and explain the decisions being made by the people who do know we would have chaos. Maybe that’s what you want but most of us prefer the kind of community our newspaper reflects.
You may not like the fact that the people we trust to run our community have made mistakes but who appointed you the judge and jury of those who’ve made the mistakes you keep reporting. Maybe the world would be a better place if more newspapers and online newspapers like yours would stand up for the organizations which provide the strength and leadership our community needs to take the values we share forward.
The traditions and backwardness you like to make fun of have managed to help us build a community of which I, for one, am very proud.
One last thing.
You like to attack small businesses and what you call ‘Mom and Pop’ operations for not knowing anything about social policy or economics. You make fun of our local politicians who listen small business owners and have the same views.
Well, right or wrong, the Moms and Pops who work, sometimes seven days a week, to pay off their loans and mortgages may not know what they are doing but they are paying taxes and have a right to protection from those who would threaten what they have worked so hard to achieve.
If councilors like John Smith, Simon Gibson and Dave Loewen don’t know what they’re doing like you say, that’s fine by me and many others in this community. At least they are doing what we tell them to do.
And that’s democracy. Isn’t it?
AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.
While all columns and letters on Today are signed by their authors, we have decided to provide this venue for those with legitimate opinions, based on fact, with something to contribute to the public debate in the city. This is not a place for wild venting or personal attacks. AmbrÖse requires you identify yourself to him and explain why you need to keep your identity secure.
To Write AmbrÖse Simply Email Him At: AmbrÖse@Today.ca