I had a conversation with a gentleman this past weekend and he asked me what I thought about current situations around the country and the state of the country as a whole.
“You’re a newspaper man, he said. “You are supposed to be fair and impartial so I’ll listen to your thoughts.”
I thought about his question for a second, really, not even a second. It was a rather simple answer to a complex time in our country and world, but my answer wouldn’t be any more valuable than the next person’s. My opinion, just like yours varies from minute to minute, day to day, month to month. What might be a lucid opinion today may be totally ignorant when new, concrete facts are placed on the table.
First, in my opinion, be aware that the broadcast news you consume, especially on the national level is full of agendas. You name the network and it is heavily influenced by political parties and special interests. If you choose to take your broadcast news from any network, then you have already chosen which side you fall on any of the myriad of subjects now deemed “newsworthy.” People like to hear “news” with which they already agree with, so if it’s NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, whatever, you have chosen to hear the news from someone you have a connection with.
It doesn’t matter where you get your information, social media, radio, television, it has an agenda. That can be said about our newspaper. I don’t feel I have an agenda, but it’s worth acknowledging my platform from which I speak.
Second, in my opinion, the recent tragic shootings which have caused national unrest are part of a vicious cycle which seems to hit on a far too regular basis. When I read or hear a report about senseless and downright criminal actions by active police officers or civilians, I know there will be more to follow.
Protesting is not rioting. Locally owned businesses which are looted or vandalized, or in other cases, totally destroyed is inconceivable to me. These business owners and employees had nothing to do with the violence, yet they are “victimized.” Also, for every rightful and peaceful protest held, it will be the unruly and violent riots which will move to the front of a broadcast. While peaceful protest is a right every American citizen has, the leaning towards almost vigilante activities is far more worrisome. Our judicial system, while flawed and stodgy at times, is still our judicial system, our laws of the land. If it doesn’t move fast enough for some at times that’s regrettable, but it is our system and other needless violent acts slow that system down even further.
Any loss of life in a criminal act is one too many. Perpetuating the violence through vandalism and more criminal acts, is, let me say it bluntly, B.S.
Finally, in my opinion, local elections are ongoing right now and if you are unhappy with the current state of affairs then change it with your vote and who you elect into office. The person sitting in the White House, Democrat or a Republican, has little to do with your day to day life. It is your locally elected officials which have the greater impact.
In fact, if you look at areas which seem to erupt in violence when one of these all too often tragedies occur, you will see a pattern. They will flare up in areas where the same elected officials are in place. Slow moving judicial systems? Check the tenures of the local district attorney, mayor and county officials.
Making a change in voting and participation in local governments can be far more effective than what we are seeing across our country right now.
If you see me, say “Hey!”
Dee McLelland is the Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or756-2668.