OPEN LETTER:

Response from "The Canadian"

To: Regina Dove, 15-year-old American
From: Robert McDougall, 49-year-old Canadian
Re: "I should have directed my anger only toward those few who are destroying America's greatness through corruption and greed."

Regina:

I am responding to the letter you sent to the Baltimore Chronicle about my "Open Letter to America." My friend, Alice Cherbonnier, who is editor of that newspaper, forwarded your letter to me and I was very happy to receive it.

You know, I am almost 50 years old, Regina, yet I still find that I have much to learn from intelligent young women like you. When I wrote the letter to which you responded, I was very upset with what was happening in the United States at the time. I am afraid I let my emotions get away on me, and I said some things that were quite mean-spirited. I guess I did so with the hope that the strength of my feelings would get my message heard. And as a matter of fact, Alice tells me her newspaper has received well over a thousand responses to my tirade.

The truth is, I have a very deep and abiding love for The United States of America. Almost without exception, every time I have visited the country--and for the three years I worked in New York City and Los Angeles--the people I encountered were friendly, hospitable and full of good cheer. It is true, I should not have taken cheap shots at the American people in such a general way. I should have directed my anger only toward those few who are destroying America's greatness through corruption and greed.

Today, I am still angry about the corruption and the heartlessness of those who would bring war on others without cause, but I am doing my best to keep a level head about it and find more civil ways to engage in another kind of battle--a war of words.

I am encouraged by your words, Regina. And I apologize to you and all other decent and fair-minded Americans for being rude.

Sincerely,
Robert McDougall


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This story was published on December 3, 2004.