Craig Maile

Stillwater

To the editor:

Communication provides opportunities for learning, so thanks to William Bradley for his letter. First, about sources; I tend to write in response to things I read about, including letters from my fellow citizens and neighbors. I hope my thinking and writing is informed by a diversity of experiences.

These experiences include growing up in Flint, Michigan. As a grade-schooler, I likely lived among diversity without benefiting from it; it was easier to insulate kids from the larger world in those days before the Internet and cable TV. Needless to say, I saw no diversity in my classrooms.

Moving to Southern California for my high school years was like getting a color TV after watching only black and white. The world became much larger and more diverse.

During college at Oklahoma State, I shared a dorm floor with people from all over the country and had roommates from Malaysia and Pakistan.

A scholarship took me to work and study in West Germany in 1985, when Europe was still divided from a war fought 40 years earlier. Many of my co-workers on the automotive assembly line at Audi were guest workers from Yugoslavia. We shared a dorm, a long workday, and lots of conversation. Living in Germany at that time, it was impossible to overlook the ultimate costs to a nation of a policy of racism. Many Germans acknowledged the welcoming nature of Americans, which was much different from their own culture.

These experiences, and many others, are sources for my beliefs. They don’t spring from a media outlet or political party platform. As for the notion that people ignore the “good things happening,” I cannot ignore the good things that are more important to me. Accepting what I’ve seen and heard from this president, this administration, and its enablers in Congress would require that I twist and stretch my personal beliefs too much. I am no acrobat.

This president’s apparent motivations of racism and intolerance and division are at odds with my experiences and my values. Thank you, Mr. Bradley, for prompting me to clarify why I write.