Brian Martin seems an odd choice to lead the discussion on Ben Sasse's book "Them: Why We Hate Each other – and How to Heal."
Several years back, there was a legislative hearing in Northeast Wyoming that Mr. Martin commented on in an editorial. He called some of the Wyoming residents who attended "hate-filled rats" in his column. When challenged on using this derogatory term, Editor Martin said he stood by his comment and would not apologize for it.
Having the opinion that some of the people at the meeting showed hate in their comments is certainly a decision anyone can make. But the next step, of calling them hate-filled rats, is the decision that should disqualify him from leading this discussion. Rats I have been around are ugly, carriers of disease and as low on anyone's scale as you can get.
If the goal is to encourage healing and turn away from hateful comments, Brian Martin does not qualify for leadership in this undertaking. It would be hard to find anyone less qualified.
Editor's response: In hindsight, I do regret using the term "rats" in that editorial, although describing the individuals involved in that situation as "hate-filled" remains an (unfortunately) accurate characterization. As to whether I'm qualified to lead the discussion, I will leave it to the participants to decide whether to vote me off the island tomorrow night.