By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
OPINION COLUMN
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to type my thoughts in column form. Last year, I was able to consistently publish columns, but the holiday season (with its large newspaper editions) and the back-to-back massive Williams County 200th Celebration Tribute and Pioneer 175th Celebration Tribute took precedence.

These were monumental events that required some in our staff to put in several triple-digit work weeks. As much as I wanted to continue with my column, time was a luxury I couldn’t afford. To be honest, I felt accomplished if I managed to get a good shave in during this time.

I’m grateful for the inquiries about the return of my column when I’ve been out and about in community events. It’s heartening to know that some of you enjoy my musings, whether you agree with them or not. In recent months, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with community members who wanted to discuss past columns or simply chat about the newspaper.

With the summer approaching and the workload expected to reduce to 60-70 hours per week, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to bring back the column on a more consistent basis.

JUNETEENTH DRAMA
That’s a strong subtitle. I really do not intend it to be disrespectful in any fashion. But dang, in this election year, where I’ve warned before that everyone will be at each other’s throats, last week proved it.

Last weekend was a tough one. I won’t delve into the details, but I found myself working from around midnight on Saturday (Sunday morning) until 3 p.m. on Monday to meet last week’s press deadline.

And did I mention it was Father’s Day? I would have much rather spent the day with my family. I don’t mind putting in long hours, when necessary, but it’s incredibly frustrating when software or avoidable human errors push our deadline into a nightmare situation. I’m sure many of you can relate to the feeling of being stretched too thin.

It was a frustrating mess, and if I’m being honest, I was overly tired. But we made our press deadline and proceeded forward. Newspapers would print on Monday night/Tuesday morning with normal mail and distribution on Wednesday, as we have conducted every week as far back as memory serves.

We mail all out-of-our-territory (Williams–Fulton County) mailings late on Tuesday to addresses around the United States, and then on Wednesday, we hand deliver to every Post Office within our two-county coverage area for fast delivery to our hometowns by local USPS workers.

On Monday afternoon, when I had the chance to stop feeling sorry for myself, and I knew we would make the deadline, I tried to catch up on my email inbox before a much-needed nap.

There it was ….Since we have a periodical permit with the United States Post Office, their main office keeps us updated by email on important activities.

From time to time, they also send us press releases to share with our communities, which we, of course, are always happy to do. Sitting in my inbox, an email notifying us all Post Offices would be closed on Wednesday in observance of the new Juneteenth holiday, with less than 48 hours of notice.

Note the above 39-hour effort was conducted in order to avoid a possible newspaper delay, then my hands were tied.

Now I take personal responsibility. We should have known; after all, the Post Office and banks are always closed for all Federal holidays (schools, maybe). Good grief, how can someone in the media be blindsided like this, right?

Well, being laser-focused on knocking out last week’s deadline, it happened. Judge me if you must, as you can see later in this column that’s a favorite activity by some in our communities.

Note – please stop mistreating your local Post Office workers for decisions made by national postal leadership. In March, I was in Washington, D.C., talking about postal reform; I cannot tell you the horrible, near-abusive stories I heard inflicted upon local postal workers who have little decision-making options and are trying to do their job (most working extremely hard – important members of our community).

So, after some thought, I will not repeat concerning the effort I made above including missing Father’s Day, I drank some coffee, put on my big boy’s pants, and pushed out articles to our website and social media pages notifying our readers that our newspapers are complete, but to expect a 24-hour delay due to the Post Office closure (along with another posting reminding readers their mail would not arrive on Wednesday).

Now insert the word “drama” listed above. Ask my wife. We all have trigger words (mine is “drama” and “biased”). Our website and social media post stated that newspaper delivery would be delayed due to the Juneteenth holiday.

Clearly, readers were/are ready to fight in this election cycle, and it blew up via commenting on these posts. Some commented, thanking us for recognizing the holiday, as if we shut down like Federal offices. Clearly, they only read the title, not the article, as this was not stated anywhere (closure).

Media coverage never stops; in fact, we are often busier during holidays than on normal days as we have more events than normal to pursue with news coverage.

Others threw snotty comments out about our operation, also clearly not reading the article (just the title), were ready to give their opinions, most of which had nothing to do with the online articles.

It reminded me recently when my 9-year-old was given five minutes of time by a high-ranking elected official recently, which was a really special moment for him (an official I did not vote for personally but give my full respect toward for the one-on-one interaction given with our son).

Social media followers took that opportunity to start a political debate on my son’s post (photo) that I hope someday he can look back upon as a special social media moment – ruined because everyone has to insert their political perspectives.

This is a reminder and proof that this nation is ready to blow up entering election season. Be prepared for candidates on both sides of the aisle to tap into this and utilize the emotion for polling and fundraising benefits. (Don’t get me started on what I predict will happen at the forthcoming Presidential Debate).

Last week’s Post Office closure articles were simple news postings with a few sentences notifying readers that our newspapers would be delayed 24 hours. Remind yourself of this if you choose to read the following comments.

*Obscene comments and last names removed. Comments are live on our social media and website pages. No editing conducted.

I choose not to publish “over the top” comments such as several that attacked other readers’ faith (same policy as our Letters To The Editor). These are around half the comments received.

ONLINE READERS:
Scott – Call it what you want but it’s not a holiday. If it was it would have started 150+ years ago.

Behshad – Scott so that means Veterans Day isn’t a real holiday either?

Nicole – Scott that would mean thanksgiving wouldn’t be a holiday it’s only 83 years old.

Uriah – So let me get this straight. The newspaper is delivered by the post office, which is closed due to a nationally observed holiday and people are pissed about it being delayed…. Smooth brain activities. And for the people saying it’s a made up holiday, yeah it is, just like every holiday. Every holiday was established and made up at a certain point in time. Just bc the country took so long to observe it, doesn’t make it any more or less important then the next.

Randy – Woke holiday – junetenth!!!!!!!

Nicole – Thank you for observing this special meaningful day!

Daniel – Thank you for observing this holiday. We should all be able to celebrate a day when our country became more free.

Lena – Man, take the newspaper away from old people and they lose their minds.

Dylan – I never realized how many crazy commie cat lady’s are around here.

Wes – People still get the newspaper? Hahaha

Jen – Screw your newspaper I want my paycheck I get it a day early when every other holiday comes around so why is it late for this one. How do you hold my money hostage when it is electronically automated. I think you should blame the people paying you …. Both my husband and I got our direct deposits from work today

Alissa – Jen: held hostage…..dramatic much?

Gina – I don’t care; i have the day off with pay. Works for me

Barb – Welcome to the current corrupt domestic terrorist administration and government regimes reality. Where holidays are made up,history is erased and men can have babies..Can’t make this sh** up and can’t make it make sense.

Renee – Barb I disagree with this one. They should be able to celebrate the freedom of the slaves. Just like we celebrate the 4th of July. I’m against men having babies but. This holiday is different. It’s just my opinion.

Barb – Renee What’s the month of February considered?? The whole month

Tari – Renee I agree with your sentiment—but I think we should all celebrate the end of legal enslavement. Why wouldn’t we? Everyone celebrates the Fourth of July—everyone should celebrate Juneteenth.

Renee – Tari I never heard it was. I mean the government stuff isn’t shut down the whole month. We do close for Christmas, Easter and etc. so what is it going to hurt to shut down for a day for this? I mean we shut down for our holidays. It’s a inconvenience for them. So what is a day going to hurt.

Renee – Tari I agree but not everyone does. Just like some don’t celebrate Christmas but we shut down for it.

Tari – Renee I agree—take the holiday. But I’m saying it doesn’t need to be “we” and “them.” We’re all

Americans—it’s an American holiday marking an American event. It should have been a federal holiday for much longer!

Alaina – Ohio bigots find growth difficult.

Barb – Let’s not forget what month it is. Soon the freak show on the White House lawn while the drag queen pedopushers read to the children. Another regime reality.

Jen – Barb never met a drag queen who was a pedophile but I have met priests who are. but you know what ever.

Barb – Jen i definitely have a problem with drag queens reading to children (IN SCHOOLS) and that scenario has been pushed under this administration.

Janet – Barb OMG someone is reading to children in schools!!!!!! Hey at least they aren’t stealing from the kid’s cancer charity.

Kaylah – Barb but you’ll turn a blind eye to the local Catholic priest violating the alter boys I’m sure.

Mose – Fentanyl Floyd day and the country comes to a stand still. over a drug addict.

Stacey – Mose: So go to Google and search “What is Juneteenth?” The Wikipedia will clear this up for you.

Mose – Stacey: I don’t need the crap cleared up just a bunch of people thinking they are entitled to something that they themselves don’t deserve.

Stacey – Mose: yes. Slaves being freed are SO entitled! Whew!

Mose – Stacey not a dag one of them were slave geee get over it

Stacey – Mose not a dag one of us signed the Declaration of Independence and we still celebrate it? Black people weren’t given their freedom then. So why shouldn’t they get to celebrate the day that the last slaves were freed? We celebrate the achievements of our ancestors. Why can’t they?

Mose – Stacey how about the Indian or the Irish or the Dutch we’re are there day.

Stacey – Mose well, native Americans is in September, I don’t think Indian Americans have a day, the Irish have had a whole month since 1991, and no clue on the Dutch but I bet they’ve got something. But the Irish and Dutch weren’t slaves here. So we don’t have to celebrate their independence. Dude, just say “I’m racist and don’t want black folks to enjoy a single day of their life” already and be done.

Tony – Mose: Justice Floyd had nothing to do with something that happened over 150 years ago, if your gona be ignorant, at least get your facts somewhat accurate.
Mose – Tony you are the ignorant one. We’re is the Native American day or the Irish American day or the Chinese American day were everything is shut down they were just as many of them put into bondag so with that being said (get over yourselve).

Megan – I mean, it’s a federal holiday, so yeah.

Tyson – Government workers being paid to do nothing. What’s new.

Joel – Could’ve at least named it something that was a real word. Total BS

Jessie – Posts like this always show who the small minded racists are in this area. Sounds like you’re all just mad that you don’t get the day off. It’s a federal holiday whether you like it or not. So quit whining.

Tina – Jessie we’re not racist we’re just tired of the BS! All these made up BS holidays!! Seriously y’all need to remind it of the BS that you guys went through a long time ago!! Oh wait you didn’t go through it you are a great great grandparents did if they did!! But we’re so racist! Get over yourselves you guys have most likely been born in our country which makes you American citizens not African American citizens!! When you realize you’re an American maybe you’ll understand why we are getting upset with you guys!!

Terry – Tina never mind her. She is a white apologist and and no matter how much you try to convince people like this about how wrong they are you may as well just be talking to a wall and you’d probably get a better conversation, only because it is so far over their head (the ability to reason and use common sense)
Jessie – Tina last time I checked, I’m white. But go off hun. It wouldn’t be “another BS holiday” if we were celebrating more white people. Yes, Juneteenth has to do with celebrating the freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865. However, it was made a federal holiday to bring awareness to the current mistreatment of people of color.

Tina – Jessie sorry for assuming you’re color.. I do apologize for that. But like I said I think it’s a bunch of BS things made up just to promote things that were wrong in the past! People need to learn to forgive and move on! No matter what color you are.. I don’t believe in there’s more than one race because there’s only one race which is the human race.. we come in multiple colors and nationalities. Was it wrong to have slaves in mistreat them yes.. is it wrong for them to treat us like total garbage nowadays no.. at least that’s what they would say! I’ve seen so many videos where black people think they cannot be racist against white people and it’s not right! Just like it wasn’t right to have slaves back then! And what they’re missing is there was plenty of white people that were slaves too! But we’re not glorifying that! That’s my point! We we don’t need a holiday for being a slave back in the day! So why do they need one?

Jessie – Tina so why do we need “President’s Day” which is just to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday? But I don’t see anybody complain about that BS holiday. The man died how long ago?

Tina – Jessie because he was our founding father who helped create our country! Where is our white slave’s Day? Seriously double standard!!

Jessie – Tina that question is so stupid. It’s like asking where the non handicapped parking spots are in a parking lot.

Jessie – Tina google “white slavery” most of it is actually a myth and a lot of them were indentured servants who, yes, were still treated very poorly. However, they made money off their works (regardless of it being Pennie’s on the dollar) and were still seen with more value than African Americans

Tina – Jessie and if you remember right women were treated as badly as slaves for a long time so where’s the women’s day? It still doesn’t make this right! You need to focus on the good our country is doing considering how far we have come! If we keep focusing on the evils are country / people are doing we are never going to get any better! We were just continue to stay stuck! And we haven’t had this stuff going on in our country for how long? 18 something you said… That’s quite a while ago I think it’s time to move on! And I don’t think that was a myth! What about all the countries other than the United States? You’re just looking at ours correct? I could be wrong but you tell me… And what about women and children that were sold into slavery for sex? That stuff still is happening today! Where’s their holiday? Wait there isn’t one! We should not be celebrating evil deeds! I believe this for the LGB crap as well! It’s nasty to celebrate your sexuality! And then to bring children into it that’s disgusting and perverted! No not a bigot just believe that we shouldn’t celebrate it they can do what they want as long as they are adults! But I will tell them the truth when I talk to them! I told my cousin that quite a few times! He still believes that he is gay and he is with a dude! He knows I love him but he knows that I will tell him the truth! But I won’t treat him like total trash either! We need to stop celebrating evil!

Jessie – Tina look my mom taught me that you can’t argue with stupid and that’s exactly what this is. Google is free. Use it instead of listening to “Christian conservative” nut jobs about everything.

Jessie – Tina oh look International Women’s Day.

Jessie – Tina oh and national human trafficking awareness day.

Tina – Jessie thank you I didn’t know about that one.

Bill – Jessie, I knew a guy who worked for USPS, he was always mad he had to work Good Friday.

Jessie – Bill Good Friday is a religious holiday not a federal holiday. That’s why. Government offices and the post office are open that day.

Bill – Jessie Agreed but he was all salty about it, despite getting 27 other paid holidays lol.

Tina – So stupid! Where’s our white people’s day? Or straight day? Oh there is none so why is there all these? It’s stupid!!

Tina – Terri just like all the people that are celebrating this bullcrap! People need to move on! This stuff is not going on anymore! That is my point!

Uriah – Tina God forbid we celebrate the freeing of an ENTIRE race of people. The nerve. We probably shouldn’t celebrate independence day either according to your logic, bc, you know, it’s not going on anymore.

Tina – Uriah and we didn’t celebrate when the white people were freed either so!! Hey and guess what it’s not a race!!! It’s a color!! Stop believing it’s a race there’s only one!! Human. End of story!! Apparently you don’t listen to a lot of black people that don’t want nothing to do with this crap!! Like Jesse Lee Peterson!!

Uriah – Tina the white people were freed from what??? And I’m glad you and ol Jesse can speak for all of the African American community. I’ll jot that down in my book for a future reference. And obviously you’re too dumb to use the Google machine, so here, a definition of race. ‘What does race mean? A concept used to describe a group of people who share physical characteristics, such as skin color and facial features They may also share similar social or cultural identities and ancestral backgrounds. There are many racial groups, and a person may belong to or identify with more than one group.’

Uriah – Tina bc white straight people never had to fight to get rights like the slaves or the gay community had to. Seems simple enough, right?

Tony – Tina there is a white people day. It’s called Columbus day.

Uriah – Whole lot of racists in the comments. Have fun with your smooth brain activities.

Blake – Uriah I don’t feel that because people think this is stupid it means they are racist.
Uriah – Blake which part is stupid? A federal holiday means that federal building are closed? Or was it the part that they made a holiday to celebrate the freeing of the slaves? Bc in this context if you think the holiday is stupid, I would say that classifies you as a racist. But that’s a personal opinion.

Blake – Uriah just that they made another holiday. Holiday just means spend money. We have enough already. Heck it won’t be a couple months and they will have the Christmas stuff out.

Uriah – Blake the holiday is remembrance of an entire race of people being freed from slavery. That’s like saying veterans day or memorial day is another made up holiday. What’s the problem with having holidays? The average US worker works 40-80 hours a week (which is higher then most countries) and you’re mad people get an extra day to relax? And spending money? Seems like this isn’t one of those financial type of holidays, and given that it’s a federal holiday, most of not all workplaces should pay you for the day.

Terry – Uriah there’s no such thing as racism. There are good and bad people

Uriah – Terry you can believe what you want my dude, but racism is definitely a real thing. If you want I can point you towards several articles, or even the dictionary definition if you are confused as to what racism is. If racism didn’t exist ,the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened.

Terry – Uriah? I said there are good and bad people and no such thing as racism.

Blake – See how it works in politics! Vote your own raise vote for how many vacation days no Obama care for them! Now I see they can even make up holidays to get paid to stay home. It’s time for a revolt in America! I never thought we would be celebrating Turd Burglars but I guess we are.
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Well, there you go. This is the type of (inserting my trigger word) “drama” we deal with daily at the newspaper. I do believe there were some great points shared on both sides of the debate above once 80% of the bickering was shifted through (wonder what the next Presidential Debate will be like).

I repeat something I’ve said in my inner circle: I often wish I could leave social media. I love connecting and seeing photos, but the fighting and bickering is disappointing.

But I also feel it is important to hear others’ opinions, so there’s that aspect. When readers were not taking jab at each other, I rather enjoyed some of the perspectives shared.

Wonder what next week will bring or the next few months as we inch closer to November? Buckle up and if you are a person of faith, pray for our nation.
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That is it for this week. I’d love to hear from you. As always, feel free to reach out to me at publisher@thevillagereporter.com or via mail at 115 Broad Street, Montpelier, Ohio 43543.