15 July 2021
Our opinion: Let’s work together instead of against each other.
Think of where we are now in comparison to last year. Think of what we’ve learned since and how this is affecting our futures, for example, now that we’ve seen what we can do and how we can support ourselves from the comfort of our own homes.
Does this mean that more people can and will be working remotely? This being said, will office walls and cubicles become a thing of the past after a year untethered? Will we see an influx of people moving to rural areas? I sure hope so -- there’s more than enough room to grow both gardens and communities.
During this plague year I’ve been embracing my country mouse whiskers. I’ve been working for a couple of newspapers in a rural area and I’ve come to better understand the challenges rural Americans are facing, whether it be food cost and accessibility, waste disposal, healthcare or even finding able bodies to contribute to the local workforce as the population ages.
One of the greatest fears I’ve encountered is the fear the locals have of their communities dying.
I’ve stood outside a central North Dakota Cenex fueling my vehicle on a still and sleepy Saturday night after hearing of how it once bustled. Sadly, change is inevitable whether we like it or not. As youths trade in the northern lights for city lights and industries abandon these areas, local infrastructure starts to crumble. And suddenly there are more tumbleweeds than people rolling down the main drag.
It's not hard to see how folks in these areas have become disillusioned with government. They’ve been left behind and they’ve been forgotten. And as ag-producing societies, they’re irreplaceable, and they know that.
News sources that were once trusted have weaponized core American values, claiming their family, faith and their country are under attack. That these unforeseen forces are going to take all they’ve had to work and struggle for.
It’s disgusting that political parties are cheered on and treated like sports teams or a brand you’re loyal to. If you’re going to approach politics like competitive sports, at least treat it like a fantasy football league. If you invest more time researching your favorite ballplayer than politicians that are supposed to advocate for your rights, your neighbors’ and your fellow Americans’, we have a bigger problem than we thought.
Demonizing science, civics education, critical thinking and even the facts behind U.S. history are a disservice to the American people.
To quote “Tortilla Flat” by John Steinbeck, “It is astounding to find that the belly of every black and evil thing is as white as snow. And it is saddening to discover how the concealed parts of angels are leprous.”
I think about these things quite a bit, especially when I'm looked at side-eyed or distatefully for working in the “news media.” The phrase makes me cringe to think that the distrust perpetuated by certain biased news sources has trickled down to a distaste for local journalism for some. A journalist's job isn’t to interject their opinion in their reporting unless it’s an editorial.
The gross spread of misinformation and use of fear tactics is the greatest legacy and disservice the previous administration left behind and is one big goose step toward the fascist playbook. By attacking and manipulating the core values of family, faith and country they cut to the core of the very things that most Americans hold dear and it’s no wonder they remain vigilant, whether their families have been here for 250 years or 15 minutes, whether they’re Christian or non-Christian or how traditional or nontraditional their families are.
Now is not the time for Americans to turn on one another. Now is the time to band together and identify what or who is trying to divide us.
No matter what, we must not let our core values be held hostage by political divisiveness. Because after all, I think we all strive for the same thing -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At least that’s one part of the Declaration of Independence that has held up since it was written.
Maybe it’s time to focus on our similarities rather than focus on our differences and stop acting like crabs in a bucket.
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