DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a severely disabled friend who lives far away. Sometimes we chat on the phone and sometimes I write letters. The letters must be read to her by caregivers whom I have never met.
When I was writing a letter that continued our last phone conversation, the subject turned to both religion and politics. While my views are decidedly not extreme, it occurred to me that they might conflict with those of the caregivers. What used to be simple disagreement so often seems to turn to offense these days.
When writing to my friend, must I consider the possible views of her caregivers and stay away from controversial subjects? Or may I treat my letter as a private conversation, even though I know strangers will be reading it?
GENTLE READER: As you have never met the caregivers, it would be difficult to know what would meet their standards of acceptable conversation. However, Miss Manners assures you that there is no requirement that you do so. Well-trained caregivers are often called upon to be a social companion, but should know that the kindness they are providing in reading your letter is different -- it is to enable the beneficiary to enjoy something she would otherwise have missed: a letter from a friend.