Mail July 26, 2017 

Re: Being Hillary

Recently, Bill Cope wrote a column published in the Boise Weekly entitled "The Curse of Being Hillary," in which he recounted a conversation with a neighbor who'd been away from the area for a while.

In his column, he made reference to how this conversation veered into the "forbidden zone" of his feelings about the recent presidential election. Did Mr. Cope share this "forbidden zone" with the other person in said conversation? No. I can confidently state that because I was the other person there that day.

Here's what happened: I'd been away for nearly a year caregiving for my father. I saw Mr. Cope gardening, so I took the opportunity to catch up with my neighbor and friend. This was an entirely innocent conversation on my part, mostly just trying to catch up and touch base with Bill.

Apparently, sharing that for the first time in my adult life I had been unable to vote for a presidential candidate blew down the wall of his forbidden zone. That I couldn't vote "for her" was a step beyond Mr. Cope's ability to, well, cope. I did not vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. The reason why boiled down to one thing for both: trust. I didn't. The result of his ruminating on our conversation was "The Curse of Being Hillary."

While Mr. Cope has a right to express his opinions... and is, indeed, paid to do so (I'll get back to that in a minute), I feel in this instance he stepped over the line. First, as a friend; second as a neighbor and third, in trust.

As to the first: If someone is your friend, you don't use a public forum like a published newspaper to impugn their character. In "submitting" his opinions about my feelings toward and about women, Mr. Cope wove fantasy. He has no way of knowing how I feel about women, as he is not a mind reader. No human is. His characterizations of me are in error. Obviously, Mr. Cope does not consider me a friend. Fair enough.

Second: As a neighbor, taking a private conversation and publicly using it to excoriate that person's failure to support your candidate of choice and your political worldview is basically a knife in the back. If Mr. Cope had not wanted to discuss any of this, he could have said, "Please just shut up!" He did not. Subsequently, he used the gist of the conversation as fodder for a column he is paid to write. Hmmm...

Third: Trust. Here's the real reason I'm writing this rebuttal. You may be of the more liberal persuasion here in Idaho. You may applaud each and every one of Mr. Cope's columns.

A note of caution: With this column, Mr. Cope has shown he's not above recounting private conversations and impugning the character of the other party involved to make his point. You may be his friend, companion, a fellow Democrat or even a family member. The next time you have a personal conversation with Mr. Cope, just remember: If you push the wrong button on the invisible keypad in his mind, you may be the subject of his next column.

For all his liberal views, Mr. Cope shares a couple of things with some of his conservative brethren. Folks like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck, to name a few. He has no problem impugning another's character to make political points and, like them, he has no problem making money from doing so.

Mr. Cope's "The Curse of Being Hillary" was a total surprise (and shock) to me. I was sent a copy clipped from the Boise Weekly along with a brief note from a person who I'd had no communication with concerning my conversation with Mr. Cope. Obviously, they knew he was referring to me. I'm sure there are others who know, as well.

There's an old expression: A word to the wise is sufficient. When it comes to confiding in Bill Cope, whether friend or foe, beware. Consider yourselves warned.

--Rick Bean (the neighbor)

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