One of the best parts of this job is hearing from readers.

Sometimes it’s a handwritten card from someone who wanted you to know that they were touched by a piece you wrote. Sometimes they just want to tell you that you stink at writing.

In either case, you wrote it, they read it and they had a response. It’s the definition of communication, and what happens on the opinion pages is supposed to be a conversation.

A few weeks ago, we published an editorial that called out President Trump for his assessment that “many sides” were to blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

We called his mushy messaging “a disgrace.”

A reader (I won’t name him here) wrote me a personal message, outraged that we did not acknowledge that there had been violent left-wingers at the rally as well. After railing against our soft treatment of anti-fascist agitators, he got to the point:

“You, of course, are a classic New York City leftist idiot who brought your bachelor’s degree in journalism and your hatred of all things conservative to Maine, to see if you could possibly influence the outcome of elections here, as you tried in New York.

“It is in fact, Mr Kesich, you … who are a disgrace – especially to your profession – which, by the way, in my experience was one of the chosen majors of all the idiots at my university who were too stupid to choose any major that might result in a good-paying job. I assume that is one of the reasons you hate capitalism. But I digress …

“So all of you far left wingers (keep up) your constant negative attacks on Trump, conservatives and your nonstop accusations of racism while you pat yourself on the back each night and try to reaffirm that ‘I’m not racist’ and ‘I am a good person, and all Trump supporters are haters, unlike me’ – you are simply increasing his chances of re-election.”

Well, how do you respond to that? At first you want to defend yourself (I’m from Yonkers, not New York City, and I didn’t major in journalism).

But here is a guy who has taken the time to create a mental picture of me and shoot it full of darts. I wanted to know why.

I wrote him back.

“I could answer you point-for-point, but that seems like a waste of time. Both of us would just get even more mad and self-righteous.

“I have an idea: Would you like to get a cup of coffee sometime? Not to debate, but to better understand each other.”

It was a few days before I got a response:

“I used to be amenable to political discussion, but since the media in general has decided to act as political activists for the Democrats … the ‘cup of coffee and let’s discuss’ opportunities are over. Especially at Starbucks, where if I acknowledged any level of conservative ideology, the public-school brainwashed left-wing idiots who work there would likely refuse to serve me.”

He went on to say that he grew up in a poor family in which no one had ever gone to college. He borrowed money and worked odd jobs, eventually earning a Ph.D., “yet people like you continue to insist I was ‘privileged.’

“You can joke about it, you can pooh pooh it, but the media created Donald Trump. There are millions of tax-paying Americans in this country who feel like the Democrats and Obama wrote them off, in favor of ‘preferred status’ for specific racial groups. There is no arguing this, because you and your friends in the media would dismiss it as racism immediately, of course.”

I was disappointed, and I told him so. If we’d had the chance to talk, I’d have told him I thought he was right – in part.

The media deserves blame for the rise of Trump, partly because we still can’t talk about race without laying collective guilt on individuals who have done nothing wrong.

But I would have also had so many questions. Like, why are you so angry? It sounds like you got to live the American Dream. And can’t you see that the only minority group with “preferred status” is the top 1 percent? And if not Starbucks, how about Dunkin’?

I wrote, “I can honestly say that even though you express yourself very well, I don’t understand you at all. And I can tell from what you have written that you don’t understand me. It’s too bad, but that’s the world that we live in.”

He didn’t write back.

Remember the line from “Cool Hand Luke,” when Strother Martin says, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”?

We’ve got that here, too. And it’s supposed to be a conversation.

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: gregkesich

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