Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Exchange With Tim Harris, of REAL CHANGE


Dear Tim,

I have been a patron of "Real Change" here in Seattle since 2001 or so until recently.

I love the model of a homeless person doing a real job, and getting compensated in return. Hopefully, this is a first step for many of these folks getting back into "mainstream" society, and moving on to even better employment, and getting off the streets. Even if this doesn't happen very often, I still like the idea of a man or woman having dignified employment, rather than simply asking for money.

Part of the reason I like the model, is I am a Conservative politically. Your model fits in well with my world view of helping persons to get back into the working world, and the idea of someone striving to improve one's lot in life.

However, after recently reading a few articles recently laced with name-calling toward Conservatives (ie, "Teabaggers"), I have stopped buying the newspaper. It really saddens me, walking past folks out there trying to make an honest living, but I see the paper as hostile toward my point of view and I will no longer support it until civility and balance are restored.

Is this possible? Can you ask your contributors to argue for their point of view, and not denigrate those with opposing views? Or, at the very minimum, refrain from name-calling? Can you find a Conservative advocate for the poor to contribute an article in each issue? (Conservatives tend to give more to charity, you know:

I realize this is Liberal Seattle, but simply a more civil attitude from your contributors could win me back. I've been reading the paper for many years, despite it's Liberal bent. That doesn't bother me. The current lack of civility from your pages does bother me, and I can no longer financially support such a publication.

Please win me back.

Thanks for your consideration.

Greg Moon


Hi Greg.

We're a progressive community newspaper that fights for social change, and would no more have a conservative columnist than National Review would offer a column to Michael Moore. I wonder if you could offer any other examples of the name-calling you describe. "Teabaggers" is, after all, what one strain of reactionary populism dubs itself, and hardly constitutes a descent into incivility. Thanks for writing.

Best, Tim