[Edited to add: More support to be found here.]
Okay, sorry, can't shut-up about it any more.
Locally, the latest ridiculousness to come to my attention is a situation involving two Paducah Sun employees, a couple of fresh-faced reporters who became engaged when Adam Shull (entertainment writer) proposed to Dusty Luthy (sportswriter) at the top of the St. Louis Arch last summer. Not surprisingly, the proposal got coverage in the Paducah Sun, the newspaper for which they write as well as at iList Paducah. Yes, just two crazy kids in love!
The pair have since continued to document their journey toward matrimonial bliss in the newspaper, with a series occasionally updating the readership on their progress. They've recently combined households in preparation for The Big Day scheduled for some time this summer.
This is especially good news for the community since it is well documented that the population of Paducah in general dwindles, and local government constantly searches for ways to attract and retain young people in and to our little berg. In fact, population decline is such a problem that the Mayor has spearheaded the "Twenty-Thirty Group", an organization with a mission to connect the younger set and develop ways to increase their numbers here.
So, behold, here are two young people who have actually bucked the trend and relocated to Paducah from other states (Missouri and North Carolina). Kids who have not only come here seeking a career, but have had the good fortune to have fallen in love on our soil. Presumably, the two could start a family here, thus in their own small but important way, make a contribution toward reversing the trend of population decline and brain-drain that continually saps our community of vitality and the possibility of renewal.
How happy are we about this?!
Well, I'll tell you how happy we are.
We're so happy that Paducah Sun readership has begun to write Letters to the Editor of the newspaper that employs Shull and Luthy complaining of the immorality of their premarital cohabitation.
Yes, friends, welcome to the backwoods! Let's see, two people in love about to marry living together and sharing the joy? I know! Let's place them in stocks in Dolly McNutt Plaza! Or, alternatively, we could toss them into the river at the foot of Broadway and see if they float? Of course, if they do float, they are obviously immoral sinners in need of further punishment and, if they DON'T float, well, bless them. They are all right after all. Cotton Mather would be proud.
Not surprisingly, the updates from Shull and Luthy have not appeared in the Paducah Sun for some time. I'm hopeful that this is unrelated to the negative feedback they have received (save for one lone letter of support), but can't help but think the situation has played a role in their increasingly long silence.
The whole incident causes me to think through this situation to others. If this community is not ready to accept even simple cohabitation, what other intolerance lurks?
The mind boggles.
Mind you, I'm not suggesting the naysayers don't have a right to their opinion and their own morality choices. Please, by all means, don't pre-maritally cohabitate if you don't feel it's okay. But, for heavens sake, stop trying to legislate everyone else's life and robbing the joy from these two young people in particular. Please, naysayers, in the immortal words of my erstwhile (live-in *gasp*) boyfriend of yore, Bob: Get a life; they sell them at Walmart.
To Adam Shull and Dusty Luthy, I would say, in the immortal words of John Wayne: Don't let the bastards get you down.
Write on kids, write on.