There is a wide gap between the vast majority of people who rarely say anything outside their own polite circle of family and friends, and the few who write books and articles about various topics, often expressing very strong opinions from one extreme to the other. In-between we have newspaper columnists and radio and TV personalities who express their opinion, also at times with one extreme position or another.
Letters to the Editor (LTE) serve an extraordinarily important function by letting the more or less common individual express an opinion, add insight, weed out misunderstandings, influence people, and help spread enlightenment, - or in many cases unfortunately, bigotry. Such letters fill the gap between the many who say nothing and books and articles too heavy and time consuming for most of us. It is amazing what can be expressed in a few words in a readers’ opinion section of a newspaper. Opinion letters are as close to grass roots as you can get. And, they do have an impact! Whether left-oriented, right-oriented, or des-oriented, the opinion pages with LTE’s are often read with greater interest and by more people than he rest of the paper, - with the possible exclusion of the obituaries that older people seem to gravitate to.