Sunday, May 22, 2016

This is a piece that was published in the Concord Monitor this morning.

I picked up the May 18th copy of the Concord Monitor and noticed that in addition to the stories about recovering drug addicts and the need for more government subsidies, there was a piece about how the country was going into a tailspin regarding its moral conduct.

Apparently the writer just recently had this revelation after noting that an egotistical blowhard (my words not his) like Donald Trump was a serious candidate for President. What really perplexed me, however, was not the sudden clarity of his view on society, but that this same individual (a politician himself) has been a very staunch and public supporter of one of the country’s most morally corrupt politicians of the last two decades. Yet it took Donald Trump for him to realize that this country had lost its moral compass.

The capacity for hypocrisy among our politicians is hard to believe. And yet they somehow manage to keep setting higher plateaus from which to bloviate. Still, it was hard to disagree with his essential point that the country has lost its way as it wanders down the path to disaster.

There was another article in the paper discussing the demise of many local newspapers in this country. It was a nice piece but I couldn’t help but wonder if the writer was too close to the problems.

Yes, the newspaper industry is beset by many issues. The internet has provided inexpensive competition, has taken away ad revenues and changed the readership habits of many in the population. But the local newspapers have also lost awareness of some of the advantages they have, such as being the ready source of what is really going on in local communities. Unfortunately, the Monitor, and many others seem to focus primarily on the negative side of things. Even when they think it is an uplifting approach such as the article on a recovering addict or a new homeless shelter, it is a negative kind of positive. We are celebrating the care and success of those who have spent their lives making poor decisions. Yes, it is good that we are doing this, but if this is all we are doing we are heading for a murky future.

The morale and morals in our community might be well served by showing some truly positive  examples. Perhaps we could highlight some of the fathers and mothers who have taken responsibility to raise their children well: families without drug problems, and where abuse and infidelity aren’t the flavor of the week. I believe that many of those exist although you would never know it from the news. Perhaps we could feature a few pieces  about the business people who bring jobs and products to the area or those bringing creativity and vision to the community.

I know we don’t seem to be getting much of this from our political leaders right now, but that makes it even more critical that we provide it locally. There are lots of people in Concord and New Hampshire who resist the temptations of the world. They make sacrifices for their kids, work difficult jobs, treat people with respect and integrity, and help establish a “moral” environment. Couldn’t we focus a little more often on those stories?

I talk to a lot of people in this community, have served on a multitude of boards and think I have a pretty good sense of the pulse of the city, and I can tell you that the Monitor is losing its position as a real representative of the citizens. Readers tell me they may still subscribe to find out what physical events are happening, but they spend less time on the articles because it’s too depressing, it is just saying the same thing over and over, or it has no diversity in its approach to issues.

I realize that it is a hard road for the news media in this country to travel. It is very easy to focus on the negative. We have violence, wars, a poor economy, and lots of bad decisions made by our leaders and our individual citizens. But the majority of people in this country still work hard, raise their children well, and try to live good lives. We need to be reminded of that. In this election year we are facing a mystifyingly bad set of choices for new leadership. And perhaps we all need to take responsibility for that. There has been a distinct lack of attention given to people who do things the right way. Everyone, especially the media, focuses on the train wrecks in society. The non-producers and the manipulators get the attention, so we shouldn’t be surprised when they rise to the surface in a national election where the most outrageous, the most devious, the most deceitful, are the names the electorate gravitates toward. 

Glenn K. Currie

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