The purpose of my blog is not to get into arguments with Post-Gazette letter writers (although I would just like to say to that woman who wrote a nasty letter about me yesterday - I am not disgruntled. I am one of the most gruntled people in this region).
But a letter in this morning's paper requires a response (not an argument). It is a tough letter but it makes a point.
Titled "Stop Whining About Mere Inconvenience," it concerns the power outages brought to the region by the remnants of Hurricane Ike. Arguing that we got off easy when compared with the citizens of Texas (and no dispute there), it takes aim at Allegheny County Councilman Matt Drozd. "That he would whine about minimal power outages and the lack of Duquesne Light phone operators is appalling."
With the greatest respect, no it isn't. It is appropriate. Tens of thousands of people lost their power in this storm. As I write this, the PG Web site reports that 60,000 in the region were still without power this morning and, as of 10 a.m., they included 14,500 Duquesne Light customers. Some won't get their power back until late Friday. Minimal power outages? I don't think so.
I was one of those who lost power for two nights, forcing us to throw away many items of food from the fridge. I did not whine. I sat stoically in the dark with Sooner the dog and it wasn't much fun. I have nothing against Duquesne Light and have only admiration for their crews who go out at all hours to repair the lines.
But I am also glad Councilman Drozd was on the case. That is his job. It is a comfort to darkened dog companions everywhere that a tribune of the people is keeping the utility's feet to the fire.
Yes, people need to keep a sense of proportion - those were winds from a hurricane, after all. But this don't-whine mantra goes only so far. (We were told not to whine after the 2000 Florida presidential election as the lawyers and judges and party hacks stole democracy away). Sometimes whining is the American character expressing its justifiable feelings.
In America, we expect customer service. When the customers are not being served quickly or efficiently enough, it is perfectly fine for a representative of the people to go to bat for them. I don't see a problem. I'd be whining if some public official didn't do it.