Valdosta Daily Times

October 8, 2012

Mailbox Club hosts Cal Thomas; Times interviews columnist

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — As regular readers of The Valdosta Daily Times Opinion page and viewers of Fox News know, Cal Thomas is a man unafraid to express his opinions.

He supports conservative politics. He believes Mitt Romney is the better option for President of the United States. He believes President Barack Obama’s policies have been disastrous and, allowed to continue, could imperil the nation. He opposes the “entitlement culture.” He minces no words regarding radical Islam and his views that Muslim fundamentalists plan to place the world, including the U.S., under Islam-based Sharia Law.

No doubt, Thomas will touch upon these issues later this month as the featured speaker for the Mailbox Club’s Harvest Dreams Dinner in Valdosta. Based in Valdosta, the Mailbox Club annually sends printed Christian lessons in dozens of languages to millions of children in nations throughout the globe. The Mailbox Club still has tickets available to the public for the fundraising dinner and Thomas’ visit, said Peter Faulkner, a Mailbox Club representative.

During a recent phone interview with The Valdosta Daily Times, Thomas discussed all of the aforementioned topics, but as he is expected to do at the Mailbox Club event, he also spoke of his larger beliefs in religion, hard work, success, being American, putting friendship before politics, and his thoughts on the Mailbox Club’s works.

“Government, power, money, influence, none of it really changes anything, but then you learn of the work of the Mailbox Club in what was once called the third world and it’s touching the hearts of children,” Thomas says. “If you can reach a child, you can change a life.”

In these same parts of the world, Thomas says, Islam radicals sponsor camps teaching children violence and a negative view toward the world. “The Mailbox Club is a terrific counter to them.”

Born in the 1940s, Thomas learned the lesson of hard work which he applied to his journalism career which included early stints with NBC News in Washington, D.C. He mentions early work as a copy boy and investing long hours for low pay to rise to become the most widely syndicated political columnist in the nation, appearing in more than 500 newspapers. He’s also written more than 10 books. He is a regular contributor on Fox News and appears weekly on the show “Fox News Watch.”

Though he still travels extensively for speaking engagements and other assignments, he doesn’t have to leave his house most work days.

“I make the 20-second commute from my coffee pot in the kitchen to my desk, but I worked hard to get to this point in my life,” Thomas says, one of the many sparks of humor he shares and balances with an insight during this phone conversation. Despite the often stern countenance that stares at readers from his column photo, he is congenial on the phone, friendly, gracious and funny.

And despite his conservative opposition to liberal beliefs and policies, Thomas believes faith, being American, and friendship trump partisan politics.

A few years ago, when the liberal lion Ted Kennedy died, Thomas wrote a tribute to the fallen senator. Though they agreed on little politically, they had developed a friendship. The column surprised readers on both sides of the aisle. Earlier this year, Thomas made an on-air derogatory remark about CNBC host Rachel Maddow; he regretted the insult, and apologized to Maddow personally and in print.

“I don’t hate anybody for their politics,” Thomas says. “… No one should ever let politics get in the way of a good relationship.”

The real enemies of our country are not other Americans with whom we disagree politically, Thomas says. The real enemies are the Taliban, etc.

As for political divisions, they are as old as the United States, he says. “Look at the election between Jefferson and Adams, the Civil War, this is nothing new.”  

The problem nowadays is there are several people who “make a good living keeping us divided.” In citing these examples, however, Thomas points mostly to liberals creating the political rifts.

Still, Thomas seeks that biblical passage of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. He says seeking faith in one’s life, finding solace in church and in the spirit of Christianity, “that’s going to matter more than who wins the next election.”

The Mailbox Club’s Harvest Dreams Dinner, featuring speaker Cal Thomas, is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, James H. Rainwater Conference Center, 1 Meeting Place. Seats are still available. Reservations, more information: Contact the Mailbox Club, 404 Eager Road, Valdosta, Ga. 31602; or call (229) 244-6812; or visit