Dear Mr. Letterman,
I do not normally watch your show. I don’t watch much television and, anyway, I gather you and I disagree on most political issues. But I watched last night because I wanted to see how you would react to the jihadist threat made against you last week. And now I am writing to congratulate you and thank you.
I would say that what you did went above and beyond the call of duty, except that I don’t believe in duty as a moral concept. I do, of course, believe that what you did was the morally right thing to do. It was right, not only (or primarily) because it benefited everyone you care about, your country (including me), perhaps the entire Western world, but also because it was the right thing to do for you, personally. My presumption is that you, as someone who believes in the principle of free speech, would rather speak out against the threat of jihadists who would silence us, than live in a world that has submitted to their totalitarian ideology. That is what would happen, eventually, if people were routinely silenced by threats like the one you received.
Doing what is right is not always easy, and that is particularly true when it comes to standing up to this enemy. What you did yesterday took courage, and it benefited millions of people (including me). So what comes to my mind as I am writing this post is the corny sort of birthday card that says, “…and all I got you was this lousy birthday card.” You deserve a medal of some kind for what you did but, because I don’t know you, and because I have no power to award medals of any significance, all I can give you is this (hopefully not-so-lousy) blog post.
UPDATE to readers who missed his show last night: Amy Nasir included links to videos of his monologue and top-ten list from last night’s show, below, in a comment to this post.