One cannot be deprived of that which is not his. So taught the great Stoic Epictetus following the example of Socrates. That philosopher said no one can truly harm the good person because we can deprive people of anything we wish except one thing: their integrity, their dignity.
No, I am not a good person, but usually I do try. I make some effort most days to avoid harming others in thought, word and deed while attempting to care for them for the right reasons. I fail, but mostly I try. I am no great example like Socrates or Epictetus.
However, I have met some truly good, caring, and kind people here in Lumpkin County and I have been honored to be introduced to many of them because of my columns. I have enjoyed this aspect of writing very much. And to those who wrote me, I cherish every piece of mail I have ever received and saved them all. If I did not write back, it was only due to speechlessness or from a feeling I’d only ruin something if I spoke.
Thank you to both my friends and the gracious strangers who came to my defense, who wrote e-mails or notes on my behalf or on behalf of the principle that a minority opinion ought not be silenced by a majority vote. But the people and the editor have spoken: my work is no longer welcome here.
I had a column for 5 and a half years and in it I said pretty much what I wished. I represent an unpopular position, an uncommon perspective on ideas and politics many here evidently find threatening and see no value in tolerating further. Certainly not enough to allow a fool to have his say once every several weeks. To my mind, this direction implies a poor future for this community. But, then again, this country as a whole has turned mean – why would Dahlonega be any different?
Losing the column doesn’t deprive me of anything truly mine so it’s childish to mourn it. When a person like me can no longer sell his wares, he ties up his meager bundle, shakes the dust off his boots, and moves on. So, into my bundle go my imagination, insight, suspicions, my smile, my heart, my mind. And my pens and paper. These are of no service to Dahlonega’s institutions or the people at large – they will find their home elsewhere.
That’s the best I can do given the circumstances. That and say good-bye.
Richard Van Ingram
Richard Van Ingram
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