For those of you who are unfamiliar, Altoona, Pennsylvania is a city located in the county of Blair, a central Pennsylvania county that is overwhelmingly Republican leaning (Romney 31,500, Obama 15,516 in 2012) right in the heart of what is known as Pennsyltucky. (Surrounding counties; Bedford: Romney 16,509, Obama 4,730, Somerset: R 23,935, O 9,420, Cambria: R 33,464, O 23,181, Clearfield: R 20,303, O 11,093, Centre <Home of Penn State>: R 33,697, O 33,677, and Huntingdon: R 11,953, O 5,383, in a state won by Obama by 5 percentage points. Numbers from Politico.) The Altoona Mirror, as one of the major papers serving this area, has a definite lean to the right in its editorial views, perhaps out of necessity as much as true belief. Something tells me they wouldn’t have many subscribers if they went around endorsing Obama.
The Letters to the Editor section, however, is a bastion of fairness in a right wing jungle. Sure, the majority of the letters printed were probably scrawled in crayon by knuckle-draggers, but they can only print what they receive. When one of the crayon scribbled diatribes strikes a progressive nerve in the community, they are more than willing to print the responses.
This weeks idiotic ravings come from a Mr. Ed Leipold of Altoona, who writes in on August 20th with a proposed solution to the marriage equality debate:
The same-sex marriage controversy still rages across America, with no end in sight. I think I have the solution, and it’s quite simple.
Here’s my plan:
Have the Obama gang pick a small, typical town somewhere in rural America.
Next, you find two comfortable homes, side by side, and put a normal married couple [man and woman] into one home and a same-sex pair into the other.
Give them a year, and without any kind of outside interference, aid and/or pre-planning, the first couple to produce a healthy, bouncing baby will establish what will be the law of the land in this country, as to what “legal marriage means.
Simple solution to a really simple problem.
Ed Leipold, Altoona
Which led to the Altoona Mirror’s First Annual “Smack Around Ed Leipold’s Bigoted Opinions” Week. The week began on Saturday the 24th with a letter from a former resident of Altoona:
This letter is in response to Ed Leipold’s “Same-sex solution” letter.
It is people like Leipold that give my hometown of Altoona a bad name whenever they send imbecilic drivel to the Altoona Mirror.
His letter makes no sense, is offensive to same-sex marriage advocates and is devoid of any facts or knowledgeable information actually worth reading.
Having been born, raised, and lived in the great city of Altoona for the first 23 years of my life, I can assure you that there are plenty of educated, smart people in the area that have intelligent things to say.
The Mirror would benefit from publishing letters from these people sometimes, rather than constantly publishing the opinions of Ed Leipold.
Alex Askey, Alexandria Va.
Ouch. While Mr. Askey doesn’t really spend any time on Mr. Leipold’s actual argument, Mr. Leipold’s actual argument is imbecilic drivel and didn’t really need refuted. I’m sure even a few local conservatives cheered when they read this letter. Mr. Leipold is a frequent letter writer, and his opinions are often of the “so stupid you wonder if he is a Poe” variety. I figured this was the end of it, a fitting smack down for a letter devoid of anything worth reading.
But the Mirror wasn’t finished. No, there was still an argument to shred, and on August 27th, they turned to one Carey Pierce to do the shredding:
Definition of ignorance: the state or fact of being ignorant, lack of knowledge, education or awareness.
When reading Ed Leipold’s letter to the editor on Aug. 20, that was the first word that popped into my mind. A few others did as well, but they aren’t very nice.
I find it hard to believe the only thing that defines “legal marriage” is having children. What about married heterosexual couples that choose to not have children? What about married heterosexual couples that can’t have children?
Does Leipold wish to inform those couples that their marriage isn’t actually legal? I would love it if Leipold would further explain where he got his definition for “legal marriage.”
So beautiful. So now we have Mr. Askey giving voice to the majority opinion of Mr. Leipold’s rantings, and Carey Pierce completely dismantling his argument. Game, Set, Match.
Unless they really wanted to pile on. I mean, Carey did call him “ignorant,” and Alex did refer to his writing as “Imbecilic drivel” “devoid of” anything “worth reading,” but did they really mock his argument enough? Was it time to turn it up to 11?
The August 29th edition had the answer to that question, with a letter titled “Argument ‘silly'” (The Mirror does not have this letter on the website yet. As soon as they get it online, I will provide the link. For now I am quoting from my print edition.)
I read Ed Leipold’s letter detailing his solution to the question of marriage equality and while I think the most likely result of his experiment would be two childless couples due to performance anxiety, I am willing to concede his point that only the heterosexual couple could produce a child. With that biological fact out of the way, so what? Is he using his cute experiment to suggest that the ability to sexually reproduce should be a requirement for a marriage license? In that case, add a fertility test to the license application. We can leave it to him and others who make this silly argument to explain to infertile straight people why they can no longer get married. Of course, this doesn’t only affect the infertile young; senior citizens who find love past their childbearing years will now have no choice but to live in sin. We can’t forget those people who chose to not have children for some reason or another. Should we employ fertility police to check up on childless married couples? Impose a time limit for reproducing before their marriage is annulled?
Of course we shouldn’t, because we all realize that marriage is about a lot more than sexual reproduction. Marriage is the public affirmation of love between two adults asking the government to legally recognize their hopefully lifelong partnership. I seriously doubt Mr. Leipold wants to deny marriage to the other people I pointed out who can not have children, just to homosexuals. Which, I am sorry, means this isn’t about children but about bigotry.
Why do you care, Mr. Leipold? How exactly does marriage equality affect you in any way? No one is going to force you into a gay marriage, I promise. You say that the controversy rages with no end in sight, but you are wrong. A quick look at the polling trends and numbers will show anyone that those on the anti-gay marriage side are fighting a losing battle. There is an end in sight, and in a decade or two people will wonder what the fuss was about, just like with interracial marriage.
E. Joseph Grsevinsky Jr.
Calling his argument “silly”? Check. Employing Reductio ad absurdum by suggesting fertility police to make sure couples reproduce within a limited amount of time under threat of annulment? Check. Calling him a bigot? Check. Sliding in the subtle dig that no one is going to force him to get gay married? Check. Hell, the only thing missing is an insinuation that Mr. Leipold truly wants nothing more than to slobber all over a throbbing cock and uses homophobia as a way to stuff his longing for rock hard man meat deep down somewhere other than his ass, but then again, that probably wouldn’t have been printed in a family newspaper anyway.
And hell, isn’t this the second time I’ve printed a letter from this E. Joseph Grsevinsky fellow? Someone needs to give that man a blow job.