Letter: Political debate at Frankie and Johnny’s Barbershop
I think we, the people of Mathews and Gloucester, are missing something that not so many years ago we took for granted. Having grown up in Mathews, I recall many lively political debates. The community stores and the barbershops were focal points, places where friends often met for needed items, a shave, haircut, or simply to stop and talk.
I can see Frank Pugh and Johnny Sadler now, emphasizing a point of debate by pointing a pair of scissors or a razor at each other—simply to point, not in any threat. It was what they had in their hands at the time.
Back then, I do believe a person’s political viewpoint was held as a source of pride. Growing up in Mathews County, I cannot ever recall a political discussion that ended in discord or an argument. Unfortunately, today, the subject is avoided like a plague; to remain uncommitted appears to be the safe route.
While patronizing a business not long ago, one of the owners approached me and complimented me on one of my letters to the editor. However, they added, "I disagree with you." I found that absolutely refreshing, and yes, gratifying as well. I laughed and made a comment as to how this is America and not some gulag country.
I ask, "Why must politics be so bitter?" In a community such as Mathews, the fact that one’s political views must be guarded portends some rather serious considerations.
I really miss those days of friendly debate. I believe that the entire process would be better served by free and open debate. I can see Johnny Sadler now, pointing a comb at Frank Pugh and saying "Well, this is how I see it."
Frankie and Johnny’s Barbershop is no more, though I am sure that their debates continue in heaven. However, rest assured, if you want to know where I stand, ask me, though I suspect you already know. I yearn for those days of friendly enlightened conversation. At least, that’s how I see it.
Port Haywood, Va.