One robin does not a spring make, or something like that. And one letter to the editor does not represent a trend.
Yet it was heartening to read a recent letter to the Livingston Press and Argus sternly criticizing Undersheriff Mike Murphy, chair of the Livingston County Republican Party, for his letter to the editor calling President Obama a traitor for merely stating that the U.S. will follow its own laws and not torture detainees.
The letter, written by someone who is in no way affiliated with the Livingston County Democratic Party, says that "Murphy's comments and opinions regarding President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party warrant his immediate resignation as undersheriff."
It goes on to suggest that Murphy's bias toward the Democratic Party poses a conflict of interest in his job as undersheriff. "Would he protect and serve an outspoken Democrat?" asks the writer, adding that Murphy "should pretend to show a little respect for the president."
I have only met Mike Murphy once and he seemed genial. There may be some projects we can cooperate on down the road. But I thought his letter was over the top and I tried to reply with one based as much as possible on facts.
As to whether he should resign, I'm not suggesting that. His dual role does raise a red flag, but I've seen nothing so far to cause me any concern. I'll be on the look out for anything, of course, and I'm sure he is well aware of that.
The more important message that the writer is sending is his concern about hyper-partisanship in this country that results in the perpetual campaign as practiced by Karl Rove and the Bush White House.
The letter may well be a sign that independents are rejecting negative campaigning and personal attacks on political figures. Or it may be just one person's disgust.
I'm hoping it's a trend.