A Day In The Life Of VDARE.COM's Letters Editor
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I have two jobs at VDARE.COM. One is to write my weekly opinion piece and the other is to edit letters sent to us from friends and foes.

First, I evaluate all the letters (every one of them is read) for content. Those that are chosen for posting generally require an additional exchange or two with the author to be sure their points are accurately represented and to get permission to use their names and e-mail addresses.

Not surprisingly, we get a lot of mail charging "Racist!" "Xenophobe!" or—my favorite—"Why don't you go back to Italy!"

That we get such rude mail is not, as I said, surprising. But the tirades are written with such fervor that I don't think it occurs to the author that we hear this every day. To us, it's water off a duck's back. Where, please, is the creativity?

This week, I'm going to take readers behind the scenes of a day in the life of the VDARE.COM letters editor by writing my column about a series of e-mails I received trying to make a particular point but inadvertently making another quite different one.

Here is an interesting exchange between "An Angry California Hispanic" and me. 

What brought these e-mails to the forefront is the recent forced resignation via the character assassination route of Kansas City Parks' Commissioner Frances Semler.

La Raza's Janet Murguia and other race-baiters who operate disguised as "civil rights" activists went after 73-year-old woman's job because she is opposed to illegal immigration. But their actions expose them as the cowards they truly are.

Open Border advocates view a patriot's job as fair game.

Check out what was written here (unedited), from the first to the last e-mail, and decide for yourself.

A.C.H.:  "It is hard to believe that you are a teacher in Lodi and still be a racist."

J.G.: "Racist...is that the best you can do?"

A.C.H.: "I am not trying to get into an electronic fight with you but if you are in fact a teacher in Lodi, CA, do school administrators know about your 'part-time job' as a writer for this racist web-site?  I am not aware of the enrollment numbers in Lodi, but I'm sure that Latino enrollment has to be high.  How can you teach in such a district being so biased against Latinos?"

J.G.: "What I'm against—and what you should be against too—is illegal immigration. It doesn't do anything for anyone except businesses who exploit them. Who is doesn't help in particular are kids who are ALREADY HERE and trying to get an education but can't because teachers are so overwhelmed with new students who speak no English and have other needs.

"I'm disappointed that we're still at the stage where because you and I disagree on federal immigration policy, I' m a racist but you're a good guy.

"I have been writing columns about immigration for over twenty years, not only for the VDARE.COM webzine but for the local papers in the San Joaquin Valley. Some readers agree with your position; most agree with mine. Everyone knows I write them...Freedom of Speech, you know.

"Maybe we should just limit our exchanges to the 49ers."

A.C.H.: "I guess we'll agree to disagree.  I only read a few of your columns that focused in on Mexicans and Latinos, but now you're being vague on immigration.  If you are an equal opportunity racist I have no problem with that.  My problem is when you focus in on one group and try to blame us for everything wrong in this great nation. 

"As far as you writing for 20 years for local papers I have to believe that your articles could not have been one-sided, since journalism is taking a neutral position and reporting the facts, you know.  I can't believe I have never heard any news about you from Lodi.  If my children were enrolled where you teach and I found out about your biased columns you would have one pissed off Mexican at the school district offices asking for your head.

"That is one of the reasons that leads me to believe that you are not a teacher.  Well anyway, I will be out for the rest of the day at the Mexican Consulate getting my matricula consular, since it's my ticket to everything."

J.G. "Mine is an opinion column and not a story...news stories should reflect both sides. Opinions are the thoughts of the writer. Consider me the Anglo version of Ruben Navarrette.

"Since my columns are mostly about illegal immigration and since most illegal immigration comes from Mexico, it stands to reason that more columns are about Mexico than other countries. But I have written about visa over-stayers from around the world.

"By no stretch do my columns blame illegal immigration for all the US problems. If you read my complete archive, which I don't expect you or anyone else to do, you would see that.

"As far as 'asking for my head' I can only tell you that to be opposed to illegal immigration is not an offense. I have worked for two principals over 20 years, each completely aware of my position.

"I teach adult education; maybe that has something to do with it.

"You seem concerned that I'm only giving one view point so I make you this offer: I'll post as a Today's Letter anything you want to say about me, VDARE.COM, Mexico, immigration...or any other related thing. I'll do it without editing a single word or deleting anything. Just give me your full name and a very brief bio that can be broad..."roots for the 49ers ..." or something like that.  We ask this of all letter writers.

"Send it along anytime. Since neither of us is going to change his mind, I think that's a good offer."

I never heard another word from him. (Aside to A.C.H., if you are reading: my offer still stands.)

Two things here are interesting:

  • A.C.H. knows who I am, where I work and where I live, all information that I don't have about him. He indicates that if he had children enrolled in the Lodi Unified School District, he would not hesitate to "ask for my head." Who knows whether this would ever happen; it might be just so much bravado. But I'm fair game to him, without recourse of my own.

  • When offered a voice, A.C.H. chose to remain "in the shadows" He was given the opportunity to write anything and told that it would be posted unedited. Had he asked me to, I would have withheld his name and e-mail address. That's our standard policy, particularly important for whistleblowers or other readers in politically correct jobs. We honor the wishes of our readers.

For someone whose opinions are as strong as A.C. H.'s to remain silent is strange. Maybe he realizes that his views don't stand up so well to scrutiny.

My take on the Semler case: she was worn down. Only a relentless, well-orchestrated campaign designed to smear a single elderly individual made her decide to give it up. No one blames Semler for resigning. 

What her story proves is how desperate La Raza is for any kind of victory—even a hollow one— after two years of getting its pants beaten off by grass roots patriots like Semler.

In the process, La Raza further exposed itself as the bully we know it to be. Semler has become a local hero with a national following.

The number one and two answers to the Kansas City Star in its poll asking: "What's your reaction to Frances Semler's resignation?" were "I support her views on the border but I understand why she quit" and "She should have stayed on the board."

And letters to the Star were unanimously supportive of Semler, as were reader comments.

One Star reader made an excellent observation: since La Raza is so concerned about perceived racism and anti-Hispanic hysteria, it should hold its convention in Mexico where it would feel more comfortable and welcome.

That's the best idea yet in a young 2008.

Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.

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