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Venthony OBIT: Lionel Hampton - RIP (17) RE: OBIT: Lionel Hampton - RIP 04 Sep 02

Dear Misophist,

I'm sorry for you.

I'm sure it's never crossed your mind, but any number of folks can disagree with you politically and still lead valued lives. Who knows? Your politics might even be wrong.

The fact that Mr. Hampton was a black man in America at a time when to be such was a severe disadvantage -- and even a mortal danger -- speaks, if anything, to the moral soundness of the conservative politics he grew to embrace.

As a young man he suffered severely from oppression and discrimination; but he came to believe (many of us would say rightly) that the greatest oppressions are those that seek to destroy opportunity through moral relativism and social engineering.

But the two of us can argue that later in a more appropriate forum than a memorial thread. What I want to emphasize here is your complete lack of sympathy and understanding and appreciation for a great human soul; not to mention your arrogance in refusing to recognize that someone who happens to be a conservative might be right about a few things, and that you might be wrong.

I am shocked that anyone professing a sound mind would use party affiliation as a litmus test for humanity and artistry.

My father was a good folk player before you were born -- he's 80 now. And I've been thumbpicking Travis tunes since I was eight. My family were dustbowl farmers and preachers and teachers and singers and deacons and country preachers in Harrison County, Mo., since before the Civil War.

We've been stalwart Republicans AND faithful singers of old songs -- several of which appear in my family tradition and nowhere else -- for over 130 years.

How DARE you imply that we are a blight on the earth, not to mention folk music, just because we have different politics than you do.

I know this missive darkens Mr. Hampton's memory. I only regret that your ravings made it necessary. Please make an effort, in the future, to imitate a member of polite society.

Yours in anger and distaste, Anthony Brown

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