I gather that Mike Riley’s campaign has decided it won’t comment to RIFuture. I find this shocking. Back when I had a column that appeared in the Narragansett Times, Mike Riley was one of my regular correspondents. As I’m sure you can imagine, much of the mail I received about my column was thoughtful material, the kind of missives that make a writer stop and reconsider his positions due to the unexpected viewpoints and hitherto unknown data points contained in them. Mike’s were no exception.
Herewith a sample of his fan mail:
Dr Mr Sgouros,
Your recent communist diatribe in the “communist times” revealed a giant gap in your knowledge of pensions and education. You couldn’t be more wrong or more communist. People like you need to be educated in some other country. Preferably Venezuela.
Michael G Riley
Dear Tom Sgouros,
I dont understand why the Narragansett Times prints any of your lunatic ravings.For a look at what a true intellectual might say and a capitalist newspaper might print ,I have attached a recent note from Brian Bishop.
Michael G Riley
Morning Hugo, that article on banks and hedge funds was truly pathetic
That last one is the entire note, except it also had a stirring quote from Friedrich von Hayek indicating that true freedom includes the freedom to make mistakes, even to starve.
Needless to say, his prose style and trenchant observations made him one of my treasured regular correspondents. His notes to me always arrived addressed to “communist” so I’d know who it was from. When he announced his run for office, he sent out an invite to join his network on LinkedIn:
A second, similar, note with a somewhat more traditional salutation arrived shortly after.
One time in 2009, I found myself at an event at a bar in Narragansett that turned out to be in the same plaza as Riley’s office. I happened to speak there with an acquaintance of his, who offered to go tell him I was in the area, and did. Sadly, Mike was apparently too busy to come meet me, so I still have never met him in person.
So that’s Mike Riley for you: tolerant of opposing viewpoints, humble about his own, committed to reasoned discussion as the route to moving our polity forward. I couldn’t be more sincere about my support for him.