Editor’s note: OtherWords sent this note to people who wrote us after Donald Kaul said he’d take a break from writing following a heart attack. If you would like to get on that list, please send a note to him too or just let us know with an email to OtherWords@ips-dc.org. Below his own words are highlights from his fans’ enthusiastic responses. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss his column on the Newtown killings, in which he calls for repealing the Second Amendment and declaring the NRA a terrorist organization. We posted excerpts from the earlier letters to our blog. Please subscribe to our newsletter if you’d like to make sure you never miss one of his columns.
—Emily Schwartz Greco, OtheWords Managing Editor

When I retired last July, I intended to stay retired, I really did. I figured I’d said what I have to say and it was time to pack it in.

But then the letters started flooding in. It was more of a trickle, actually, but still…there were letters. Nice letters, for the most part, many urging me to reconsider. A few even said it was reading me that made them liberals, but that they forgave me. That brought tears to my eyes.

So I reconsidered and I’ve decided to unretire. Sort of. I won’t be writing regularly but I intend to fire off a volley on an issue of the day from time to time in hopes of ruining some conservative’s day.

It’s a dirty job, cursing the darkness, but somebody’s got to do it. It might as well be me.

Stay tuned,

Donald Kaul


Readers Respond

I, for one, am overjoyed. Write and right on!
—Allan Shickman

Merry Christmas to me!! Thanks!!
—Elaine Atkinson

You are very good at cursing the darkness, Mr. Kaul, and this old liberal will be waiting to hear your thoughts. You have a grand way with words.
—Ann Bevington

— Luis Rodriguez

Thank you!! You just made my day. And it’s only 8:25 am here in Des Moines. I will subscribe now!
—Dennis Sibert

—Dennis W. Parmenter

Hurray for you!
—Patrick Lackey

Fantastic – I was one who wrote!
—Todd Parnell


Wonderful news. We look forward to 2013 with Donald Kaul.
—Lake and Tom Andrews

—Peg Haag

Fantastic. So glad to hear it. Happy Holidays, whatever you choose to celebrate. I’m going to celebrate your return to public commentary.
—David Gordon

Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome back! Did Obama’s win breathe new life into you? It did me. I bet on Romney and was never so glad to lose $20.
—Eileen Mericle, Bentonville, AR

Someone has to curse the forces of darkness and it might as well be you. We need a sane voice and we need a voice of experience. Keep up the good work and I will look forward to your writings. Have a Happy Holiday!
—Francis Boggus

I am much appreciative of Donald Kaul’s return from retirement!
—Dennis Moore

Thanks for you note. We are kindred spirits. Of the same political persuasion, more or less. My readers claim I am so biased I can not even spell the name of “that other party.” That is an unfair accusation. I certainly can. It is the party of the Relubians,,,Repubens,,,rplicans…oh well, I’ll keep working on it.
—Bob Hawk Ellis [hawk9999@mchsi.com]

You just made my day!! Please tell Donald “Welcome back!!”
—Jane Mellers

It is great to get some good news for a change — Donald is back!!!!
—Tom Martin

I’m delighted you will be writing again! The wheel has certainly turned in the last six months in terms of giving us a lot more encouragement and reason to hope for good times ahead! Extremism is beginning to be crushed by its own weight, just when I’d started to think the whole world was crazy (or just not paying attention). Now if our local paper picks up your (occasional) columns again, I will have a reason to be less put out with the editor. So happy you’re back!
—Mary Olson

Thanks dearly for the Donald Kaul column. It’s AWESOME!
—John Langin, Johnston, IA

Happy to hear it Mr. Kaul. I’ve always enjoyed your columns.
—Mark G., The Daily News, Batavia, NY

Thanks for the update. Welcome back, Donald.
—Earle Cornelius, Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era

That is good news. Tell him to explain how the Republicans can oppose gun control by saying that what we need is better mental health care, while voting to reduce funding for mental health care.
—Oliver “Jackson” Schrumpf, Sulphur, LA

Oh, Mr. Kaul, what a wonderful Christmas present and a New Year’s wish come true for us — you are unretiring!! We hope this means your health is continuing to improve. Wishing you a great holiday season and the best for 2013. We eagerly await your next column, bringing light into that darkness!
—Carol Fagan

This is the best news of I’ve heard since our power came back on yesterday afternoon after being off over seven hours due to the blizzard. I’ve been reading Donald’s columns since his very first ones in the Des Moines Register many years ago. When I retired 11 years ago and cleaned out my desk at school, I found columns at the bottom of my “save” drawer that dated back to the Vietnam war.
P.S. Give my best to Donald.
—David Leonard, Waukee, IA

That’s great news. The local paper, The Daily Times Herald, prints your articles and printed your last one this week. Glad you are back at it though you missed a campaign that provided the satirical writers and comedians material they can only fantasize over. The material was laid out for them though I must confess I still miss Sarah Palin.
—Art Neu

I am so glad to see that your voice is no longer silenced. I just had a sneaking suspicion that you wouldn’t be able to remain mute about life in this country forever. I was so dismayed by that prospect, in fact, that I even suggested you retire from writing your regular column but continue to write the occasional piece when something happened that you felt strongly enough about. I can’t tell you how happy and thrilled I am that you have evidently taken that suggestion.

I’ll continue to keep my bookmark, and will look forward to knowing that you will once in a while surprise us with your wit and wisdom in the future.

I hope you have continued to improve after your most recent cardiac scare and are now enjoying most of your usual activities again, including spending time with family. And I will close by wishing both of you the happiest holiday you can each remember.

We’re the same age more or less – I’ve been retired since 2001 so I understand the dilemma you are going through. The body slows down but the mind wants to remain engaged and involved.

I’m glad to hear you reconsidered. A good source of balanced opinion is always welcome. I hope your recovery continues.
—Dennis Fahlstrom

Well, that’s good news…I think! I guess I qualify as one of those conservatives whose day is sometimes ruined by Mr. Kaul’s writings (as I indicated in my email to him back a few months ago, after his heart attack and his announcement that he was retiring), and (as I also indicated) I often don’t agree with him. I am nonetheless happy to hear that he has recovered to the extent that he can consider writing again.

Though I am often “on the other side of the fence” on the issues he writes about, I still value his opinion and I realize that it was a loss to all his readers (myself included) when he decided to retire.

I look forward to again having my beliefs challenged by his sharp wit and keen insights; I can always try to convince him he’s wrong, I guess (not much future in that, I realize, but…). Welcome back, Mr. Kaul, you’ve been missed.
—Mabe Davidson

Thank you so much for responding. I am so glad that you will continue to use your persuasive writing skills and wisdom in being a voice for reason.

We need your efforts. They touch more people than you might imagine. Thank You!
—Iver Johnson, Ames, IA

Welcome home Donald! My writing on the same shame: We’re up in arms, about arms.

Alright, we get it. Enough is enough. We’ve had it. We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore. It’s time to act. We owe it to victims to honor their memories. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. No, it’s mental health we need to address. No, it’s religion in schools. No, it’s the deterioration of family. No, it’s violent video games. If only everyone nearby had been armed. Unspeakable evil. How could we not support the death penalty? And so it goes.
—Dean Lerner, Des Moines

Hearing that your writing will be available to those of us in the hinterlands again is the best holiday gift I expect to receive. Keep on telling it like it is!
—Andy Young, Cumberland, ME

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Emily Schwartz GrecoDonald Kaul,

Columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, the non-profit editorial service that distributes Kaul’s columns. Write us at OtherWords@ips-dc.or or visit us at OtherWords.org

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