Don’t shoot the Messenger

By Ken Hughes | Published Saturday, August 4, 2012

Share this page...

Marking the start of almost seven years of service to the nation, I was sworn into the U.S. Army on Sept. 14, 1965. With a room full of other young men, most of whom had responded to draft notices in those pre all-volunteer army days, I took an oath to “Uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

In school I had read and written reports on the Constitution during U.S. history classes, so I was quite familiar with what was, at the time it was adopted, the world’s most shockingly liberal document to be posited by any nation as the core principles of its establishment.

Later on I was inspired by my North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin’s practice and purchased a pocket-sized copy like the one he always carried in his coat pocket. Sen. Sam was the acknowledged U.S. Senate’s authority on constitutional law of his time.

Always known as an “outspoken” person who was never reticent in expressing his own feelings, thoughts and observations, I always placed the highest personal value on the Constitution’s First Amendment in our Bill of Rights. Civil rights, human rights are simply that and not in any way subject to a majority vote by a group or the U.S. Congress; it isn’t a “Bill of Maybes”!

Equally critical to our cherished American freedoms, privileges and rights is a free press, a place where every American can express and argue if necessary, his or her own thoughts and opinions.

Skip Nichols, the Wise County Messenger’s last editor, told me one memorable day there was a man who had expressed a desire to meet the person (me) who was brave enough to express those words in print. I was flattered of course, and indeed I am not hesitant to express my own thoughts and opinions, as anyone who has read those words can attest.

Be that as it may, my real or imagined personal “bravery” is not the issue; rather it’s the bravery of the editorial staff and the owner of the Wise County Messenger that’s the real point of contention.

I have noticed several writers who take the Messenger to task in the Opinion section for publishing my thoughts and words. Obviously they would have the Messenger publish only nice “Christian” opinions and perhaps church bulletins, which of course the newspaper does on a regular basis.

Thank you for your bravery, Wise County Messenger.

Ken Hughes

12 Responses to “Don’t shoot the Messenger”

  1. Jim Popp says:

    As I think you already know from some of my previous posts, I am one of those who does not want the Messenger to give in to the various demands to stop printing your letters. As you also know, I totally respect your right to your political views and your right to freely express those views, although I completely disagree with 99.9% of them. In America, we have that freedom and both you and I served in our country’s Armed Forces for a number of years to help insure that our freedom of speech remained valid.

    Although your political opinions differ greatly from my own, they don’t bother me, but I often wonder why you feel so compelled to express your written opinions with so much hate filled retoric and nasty name calling towards those like me with the greatly opposing views. I’ve often wondered that, since your lovely wife Diane has opposite views politically from you, just like I do, and you are therefore calling her those nasty names too, everytime you write something.

    I guess it’s kind of like a person who swears all the time when expressing themselves on a subject. The constant use of swear words diminishes their message tremendously, just as your constant use of hate filled retoric and nasty name calling does in your letters published in here.

    I would think that a man of your intellect could write and express himself clearly enough to get his point across without doing so in that manner, IF just expressing his opinion was what really was driving him.

    If, on the other hand, the point of your writing these letters is not to express an honest opinion, but rather to continually incite and insult those with an opposite view, than the reason for the nasty retoric and nasty name calling becomes cyrstal clear.

    I am with the Messenger and you on your freedom of speech and your freedom to express your honest political views, no matter what they are, and their freedom to print those opinions. I also think however that both you and The Messenger need to discuss the toning down of your expressing those opinions with such hate filled retoric and the nasty name calling that has been the norm to date. Certain people like me still won’t like or agree with your opinion, but others that don’t know you like I do will at least maybe gain a little respect for you.

  2. Tracy Smith says:

    If the WCM is to curtail Mr. Hughes’ Comments and LTE’s, then they too must curtail the views of those hate filled comments by posters such as Cody Lee, would you agree Jim?

  3. Well said, Mr. Popp. Excellent.

  4. Here is what I think. Write up your opinion..review it and summarize only the important facts..it will be shorter and to the point. Also, The Messenger should have a limit of how many words you can submit per letter.

  5. I’m just glad most people see the hateful rhetoric for what it is.

    As my dad used to say, all horse, no cattle.

  6. Jim Popp says:


    What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

  7. Ken Hughes says:

    “Swearing”?? Exactly where do I swear in my letters? I don’t even swear in conversation with friends or otherwise as you should know after sitting and chatting with me at McDonald’s when you were running for Commissioner; when you spoke to me I knew you must be running for something; how did that work out for you? Furthermore, where is the “hate-filled” rhetoric of which you and so many others in this paper accuse me of uttering?

    Also Mr. Poop, you do not have the right even to mention the name of my bride of the past 46-years in reference to anything, anywhere, and especially not in these pages in reference to anything or any supposed thoughts she may have about me or anything else under the sun. She and I have the most successful marriage of any I know. Just last night she hold me I was a “wonderful husband”. We are business partners, mutual best friends, confidants, lovers, parents to two incredible children and seven grandchildren. She is simply incredible and I will thank you to mind your own business and keep your own counsel in reference thereto.

    I reserve the right to posit anything allowed under our precious First Amendment, but I refrain from swearing in print or conversation, it just makes one sound like an idiot.

    Never mention Diane’s name again, anywhere unless she is present to defend herself or me as she always does. We each allow for and respect the other’s rights and do not allow religious or political differences to adversely affect what we have achieved together, and no word you could possibly utter could affect it.

  8. cody lee says:

    Way to go Mr. Popp! As one that has been sweared at by our lively lib, you have elicited the reaction that only I have been able to get. You Mr. Huges brought your family into the public domain with your letters, now you must deal with it. So now you would take Mr.Popps’ first amendment right to respond to yor letters away. Your letters attempt to belittle people that belive in God. Therefore you belittle your wife. Can’t have it both ways sport. Keep writing lte’s this is great.

  9. Jim Popp says:


    I was very sorry to read your most recent response to me. Obviously, I gave you too much credit in the intellect department since I never accused you of swearing, but rather I stated that your hate filled retoric and name calling of Christians and Conservatives was very offensive to most folks and also akin to swearing at them to most people.

    Regarding my mention of Diane’s name, that too was only done by me with the best of intensions, and in no way was meant to discredit, disrespect, or be offensive to her. If I offended her in any way, I apologize to HER ONLY and certainly NOT to you!

    Cody was correct in what he stated too Ken. You were the one that brought Diane’s name into these conversations, via your letters, so please do not blame me for that. The finger of blame points directly back at you!

  10. This is better than any Soap Opera. or debate that could be watched on TV.Keep it going guys, I am thouroghly entertained.Love to see Mr. Hughes get his panties in a wad when he solicits feedback and gets it.

  11. Keep em coming boys, especially you Ken. It refreshing to know that not everybody is lockstepped in Social Conservative, Religious views even here in Ultimate Red Texas. Other progressive points of view exsist. As to hateful talk I just don’t, see. You leave alot of these fellows frothing at the mouth but then again they prove that they “fit” nicely into the box of a recent study I just read about conservatives. It’s funny how some here are actually racing to join this “hollowed” group. Here is my thinking on this. You believe in God and it make you a better person, good for you, you go for it. Unfortunately, a lot on this board meet the first part but cannot grasp the 2nd plank of my proposition and have adopted social and political positions in a modern society that have no place in that society. We have seen this type of thinking recently in Wisconsin put to the extreme. I sometimes wonder how close to this some here are to this way of thinking. But I found that out 1 month after i got here in a field just north of Boyd.

  12. El Pulpo says:

    Wow, I’m glad that I’m not the only one that lives near CR 4371 that believes the same.


Leave a Reply. Note: As of March 24, 2011, all posted comments will include the users full name.

WCMessenger.com News and Blog Comment Guidelines

You must be logged in to post a comment.