It is hard not to be pessimistic
Signs of the times from downtown New Orleans
The Front Page
Friday, July 1, 2022
By Ken Tingley
The question came from a man in the audience at the Rockwell Falls Public Library after my talk last week.
“Are you optimistic about the future?”he asked.
It stopped me in my tracks. Generally speaking I’m optimistic, and even when I was editor of a newspaper dealing with difficult community problems and many complaints, I always believed that journalism could make a difference.
In my view, it provided hope for the future. But my pause after the man’s question obviously revealed my doubts.
“I don’t know how we get out of this,” I said about the political divisions where institutions are questioned and facts are consistently under assault.
The newspaper and the work its reporters and editors were doing was what the community could count on, what they could trust and invest in. But that does not seem to be the case anymore with less reporting and journalism.
Even I am often reluctant to weigh in on the latest political controversy. Perhaps it is just fatigue, but If you criticize the last president, or Republicans in general you are immediately labeled a “liberal.” My political beliefs have always been moderate. I am a staunch fiscal conservative who is open to the changes in our culture. I believed in compromise and Washington politicians being bipartisan. For years I believed that is what most people believed. I think many still do.
“But there is no place for moderates,” I answered last week. There is no place for people who believe in a middle ground.
Maybe what I wanted to say was that there was no place for truth and verifiable facts and without that there is no way to bring us together.
The 1/6 committee, buoyed by testimony from Republican officials in the Trump administration, continues to offer up evidence that our democracy is under assault, yet there is no sign that half the country believes it, or even is paying any attention to it.
Politicians continue to take political stands - our own Rep. Elise Stefanik is a classic example - without any regard to morality and truth. They stopped caring about us a long time ago. Their allegiance is to party and their support of democracy wavering.
Finally, I admitted to the man that I did have bias in my writing. I was biased against politicians who would not tell the truth. I said they needed to be held accountable. And in many cases, they no longer are.
The Supreme Court, once one of our most respected institutions may have been our last hope. But even it appears to have become just as political as their elected counterparts. After the Roe vs. Wade decision, several senators complained they had been duped by several of the justices during their confirmation process. I can’t ever remember hearing such criticism.
The court will soon decide a key environmental case that could handcuff the federal government from addressing climate change at all. That could doom future generations to a life far worse than the one we are leading now just so energy companies can reap more profits.
So yeah, I’m a little pessimistic. It wasn’t the best way to end a talk.
Signs of the times
While walking the streets of New Orleans this week, I came across a couple of signs.
The first was just few days after the Supreme Court had overturned Roe vs. Wade. After I snapped the photo, I noticed the man inside the store giving me the thumbs up.
The second photo was an old bronze plaque attached to a building in the Central Business District that made me smile.
It showed that even places steeped in history doesn’t have to take itself too seriously.
Shortly after arriving in New Orleans - this was a business trip to help my son find a place to live for his new job - we found ourselves outside the massive National World War II Museum.
There was a spring in my son’s step as we neared the museum. It had been tough day looking at apartments and he had not been able to find a place. But as we spied the multiple buildings of the World War II Museum complex a smile crept over this face. He is excited about his job telling the stories of World War II.
And we are very proud.
Drink of the week
While eating out at one of New Orleans’ many fine restaurants this week I was lured into trying a drink with a topical concern. New Orleans, which some experts believe will be underwater in a few decades, is obviously aware of the climate change problem.
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Tweet of the Day
Ron Fournier @ron_fournier“One-third of American newspapers that existed roughly two decades ago will be out of business by 2025, according to research made public Wednesday from Northwestern University’s Medill School” ~ @Sulliview https://t.co/mR0N0iOrAc