So I open my email today to find a newsletter from a company that I’m familiar with but never subscribed to. The email starts off with a patriotic tone and quickly goes into the CEO’s views on the coronavirus epidemic. There were a few lines that really got my attention.

  • I am embarrassed over the behavior of many of our citizens.
  • You spit in the faces of the great men and women, who sacrificed it all.
  • This pandemic was created by a filthy way of life 10,000 miles away in a third world country.
  • People die every day, that is the cycle of life. How they die is unfortunately and sadly irrelevant.

Wow dude, you sound like the smartest person in the room to me. I couldn’t let it go so I got his email address and sent him the message below.

Dear Frank,

I just received your email newsletter/ rant and wanted to give you the opportunity to listen to others as you suggested in your email. I’m relatively sure that your intentions with your email were good, but as a recipient, I was offended. I had to read it twice to make sure I didn’t misinterpret it the first time but it struck me the same way the second time.

I agree with everything you said about the tough times and the way Americans have stepped up to the past challenges and moved our country forward. Our country has now asked us to step up again by doing our part to address this pandemic with the only tools that are currently available. In the future, we will have more tools but right now we are limited. I choose to respect the shelter-in-place order and the CDC recommendations not because I’m scared, or living in fear because of the media. It’s because I’ve studied this thing inside and out too and have come to my own conclusions. The most important of which is that I am not an expert, nor do I have any practical knowledge of infectious diseases. Therefore, I choose to take the advice of the professionals that do have that knowledge.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion on things and I respect that and encourage people to think for themselves. However, I have a problem with people shoving their opinion down my throat when I didn’t ask for it. There is plenty of that behavior happening on social media and I think it’s in poor taste to send me an email that highlights your opinion and tells me how I should be addressing this crisis. Once again, that may not have been your intent but that’s how I received it.

The media is nothing but sensationalism, and people die every day in different ways. I think we agree on that, but since you were bold enough to share your views on that, I assume you will give me the same opportunity. All the events you mentioned throughout our history have a very common thread. They are bigger than one man or one mind. Those problems and challenges are overcome by thousands of people and thousands of brilliant minds. As a military man, you understand this better than anyone. Never is a crisis of great magnitude a black and white issue as so many profess it to be when they regale us with their vast knowledge on social media. There is always so much we don’t know that goes into managing and finding solutions for these monumental events. It simply goes beyond the opinions of individuals that don’t have the proper intel.

I am not spitting in the face of the men and women that sacrificed it all by respecting the plea for help issued by America. I am fulfilling my patriotic duty to this country by supporting the efforts to slow the spread of the virus. The brilliant minds that have the intel and the expertise in this area have asked for my help, and I will help them because they have data and I have an opinion. The people spitting in the face of the men and women that sacrificed it all are the entitled citizens that won’t sacrifice anything. They think they are smarter and more important than everyone else so they can choose the path that’s good for them. These are the modern-day draft dodgers.  “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Now that you’ve listened to my rant, you can reflect on the letter you sent to your mailing list. If your intent was to insult me, get me to unsubscribe to your emails, terminate our connection on LinkedIn, and unfollow you on your social media channels, then mission accomplished. Well done.

If I’ve misinterpreted your email, then know I’m probably not the only one.

In 2003, The Dixie Chicks opened a show in England with this:

“Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

The people attended the show to hear their music, not their opinions. They offered it up to an unsuspecting audience that didn’t ask for it. Perhaps their intentions were good, but the interpretation by American’s was not. The fallout from this comment was financially devastating and it took them a long time to climb out of the hole they dug with those words.

I respect your right to have an opinion and to talk about it, but in the future, please don’t use your platform to “Dixie Chick” me.