Mr. Doyle Beck’s two most recent newspaper opinion columns brought immediately to mind Joseph Heller’s famous quote from his iconic anti-war book, “Catch-22”: “Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major-Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”

Kent Granat

Kent Granat

Let me clearly borrow from the book’s sentence structure and state some men are born unreasonable, some men achieve unreasonableness and some men have unreasonableness thrust upon them. With Doyle Beck, it had been all three. Even among men lacking all reason, he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more reason than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unreasonable he was.

You might ask, what did Mr. Beck write to create such ire? Well, in the aforementioned first guest column, he referred to the world’s pandemic over the past 16 months as “the so-called pandemic.” In his second column, he challenged the value of teaching students about our country’s racial history.

By the end of May, our country had experienced 594,188 deaths and 33,238,422 COVID-19 cases. The world had experienced 3,444,498 deaths and 166,195,983 COVID-19 cases. This is the exact definition of a pandemic (occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population).

In Idaho, as of that same date, there had been 2,082 deaths and 191,068 reported cases. What do you say to Idahoan family members and friends, let alone American and world citizens, who have lost loved ones from the “so-called” pandemic?

One year ago, Idaho’s unemployment rate reached a record high of 11.5% “due to the effects of the outbreak of the new coronavirus,” according to the Idaho Department of Labor. The number of unemployed Idahoans grew by 81,000. What do you say to the people who lost their jobs and incomes as a result of the “so-called” pandemic? And, what do you say to the students and teachers who lost nearly a year of in-class instruction as a result of the “so-called” pandemic? And, what do you say to the people who stayed at home and lost over a year of their lives due to the “so-called” pandemic?

In terms of the country’s racial history, what do you say to the descendants of the 305,236 African slaves that were shipped to America, or the descendants of the 120,000 Japanese Americans that were forced into internment camps or to Native Americans who continue to live in debilitating poverty? And what do you say to students who recognize the racial discrimination and voter suppression that continues to exist in America?

In conclusion, Mr. Beck, I think you have identified two subjects you should avoid in the future. However, if you double-down, as you usually do, to support your written opinions on these subjects, you will not only stand out as a man lacking more reason than all the rest, but you will stand out as a man lacking more sympathy than all the rest.

Kent Granat lives in Idaho Falls and is a human resources consultant.

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