Every morning I trudge out to get the morning paper, rain or shine. Then I sit down with a cup of hot coffee and read about the death and destruction. This morning I counted over 5 stories in the local section of our paper that dealt with money issues (not enough money to charities, not enough money for government, not enough money to pay bills, etc). I hate to say it…but I got my own money issues. Everyone else is gonna have to wait. So I flipped to the editorial page, as I often do, and began reading my favorite section of the paper. I love it because there are so many voices and independant thinkers out there. Some I agree with, some I don’t, but at least someone is out there voicing an opinion.
I think the editorial page in the paper (and on websites) is the most important thing that I read daily. Sometimes the writers present a point of view that I may not have seen before. Or sometimes they present points so ludacris that I laugh and can’t believe how simple-minded we still are, even now in 2008. Either way, the editorial page is still the one way that we show that we are free to do what we want in our country. It’s a shame that we can’t do that every day in our normal lives.
If I had to call one editorialist my favorite, I would have to go with Leonard Pitts, Jr. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who writes for the Miami Herald and a syndicated columnist for papers all over the country…including The Cincinnati Enquirer. Not always, but I would say 9 times out of 10 he strikes a cord with me that is exactly what I’m thinking about the state of our country. Today (May 12) he had an interesting column about a woman who was born and raised in Estonia but now resides in America and is engaged to a buddy of his. Over dinner one evening, they got into a discussion over her feelings on our country, and she seemed to have plenty to say. I won’t plagiarize his column or quote any of his statements, but the just of it was this: our country has become way too standardized. No one wants to step up above the crowd and voice an opinion and we, collectively as a country, have become dumbed down in order to skirt around the issues. The entire column is here, and I recommend that if you have a few minutes you read it.
Anyway, Pitts’ article goes on and his friend’s fiancee says that when her friends come to America to see the sights, they don’t rush out to take pictures of our national monuments. Instead they take pictures of the stupidity of our culture. I find this interesting. Here we have so much culture and points of interest and the things they find “photo worthy” are signs such as “Caution: Coffee Is Hot”. Apparently they don’t have signs like that in Estonia because people there seem to know and understand that coffee is served hot. We don’t.
Pitts’ statement at the end of his article is that we’ve become too “uniform” (his term, not mine). Other countries now laugh at us and our ways because we, as a culture, fall back on our laziness and ineptitude and just walk the walk. Well…to all of the writers in the editorial pages I say “Bravo”! They don’t walk the walk, they stick their necks out there and raise their voices every single day!
As a “blogger”, I find hope in the editorial pages and especially from a writer such as Mr. Pitts, Jr. So I will continue to write and maybe someday I will present my cases the way he does. But until then, he is the voice in my head. I always look forward to reading his perspective on things and today was no different. My only hope is that people will continue to read and argue and voice their own opinions because that is what makes our country so great. And if occasionally we spill some coffee on ourselves, that’s okay. We get burned and we move on. But this morning I’m happy to report there was no spillage of coffee in my house…and so life here (and in America) is all good.