This op-ed by a gifted high school student ran alongside my piece today. In a different section of the Dallas Morning News I found this great story on art sculpted by a local artist using the same old documents I rant about shredding.
My year as a volunteer columnist is ending. Applicants for Community Voices have until October fifth to submit a writing sample.
When I was selected to be a Community Voice I worried that I didn't have enough opinions about my city, and that I couldn't be a persuasive writer. During the year I've gradually realized that community is not necessarily geographic. My community is defined by the responsibilities of my generation. I connected to the most readers when I wrote about experiences with my elderly father.
Some communities don't belong under my byline even when they offer great material. It was tricky writing columns related to my job. I never ventured to write about the wacko world of my condo complex.
My columns didn't generate heated online comments, but my involvement with the newspaper made me aware of the hateful things people write when they can post anonymously. Thoughtful discourse and respectful arguments have disappeared from public media.
It's a sad situation when an inappropriate outburst during a presidential address encourages campaign contributions to the speaker. So far, no one is sending my dad monetary contributions for his inappropriate outbursts to the assisted living staff and residents. This man who was once the epitome of patience, manners, consideration, respect, and duty, has lost the function of something in his frontal lobe that filters and civilizes his behavior at age eighty-six.
Where is the hope for our nation when elected federal representatives, local officials, school administrators, rabid media commentators, and overwrought parents all behave like a cranky octogenarian in Depends?
We each have an inner editor. Let's push the reset button and reboot that program. Thanks so much, Michael Landauer.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder