Thing About Perspectives...
What is it about our need to celebrate so many anniversaries?
This summer, we’ve seen the 40th of the Woodstock festival,
the moon walk, the Stonewall Riots that started the Gay Rights
movement, and the Manson Murders. Plus the 50th of the Nixon-Krushchev
“Kitchen Debate,” Alaska’s entry into the
union, and now mention of the 35th anniversary of Nixon’s
resignation from the presidency and the 40th of Abbey Road’s
release. Hey, what about Let It Bleed?
Locally, we’ve celebrated 40 years of the Catskill Center
for Conservation & Development, plus a host of Woodstock-centric
events back when.
Has our news industry become so big and voracious that we
need these stories to fill space, or is the aging Boomer generation
so narcissistic that it has to push it’s every memory
onto the population as if it were as important as the Civil
War centennials and World War II 50th anniversary extravaganzas
some of us remember from when we were younger?
Have our lives grown so confusing that we need these benchmarks
to put it into perspective? If so, what does THAT say about
the push for progress that pulled us into the modern age and
all the comforts we enjoy today? Could there be a correlation
between one portion of our populace’s wish to keep moving
ahead while another wishes to move back to mythical Golden
Let’s use this 40 year benchmark and see what’s
been gained during the interim.
How about home computers and not only widespread telephone
but cellular coverage, to boot? Greater freedoms for our nation’s
various peoples, no matter their economic or ethnic backgrounds?
Better roads and cheaper commodities and a wider assortment
of commercial enterprises? A younger voting age? No military
draft? No cold war? A wider community college system? Greater
environmental awareness and ecological options? A host of
medical advances, including new knowledge, if not yet easy
insurance, for preventative care? Easier travel, within and
without the country? More television stations? Movies and
other forms of entertainment 24-7?
Okay, there’s bad mixed in with the good… such
as the threats of climate change, the rise in our nation’s
obesity rates and accompanying health scourges, from cancers
to diabetes. Volunteer wars. Greater disparities in economic
terms. Broken down political rhetoric. Wider threats of global
unrest and non-ending wars. Terrorism. Over-expensive health
care. All those pills s many of us have to remember to take.
A loss in the localization of food and commerce, news and
knowledge. An increasingly lackadaisical sense of involvement
on many people’s parts. No dress codes, or manners…
Does that mean we have to choose one time or another, or simply
continue working to do better? Or try to undo what’s
Did 1880 wish to revert to 1840 ways? Or 1930 wish it were
1890? In 1969 were we constantly harping back on our cultural
differences in 1929?
At least locally, we can take this equation more lightly.
We can all miss times when people would come up for long summers
in the Catskills by train, local farms, less home-based entertainment
and greater reliance on community get-togethers. But are we
all ready to give up our home computers and televisions, or
this newspaper? Or the quickness of modern travel?
We applaud the greater openness and involvement of our local
politics, even when it does get a bit boisterous. And we hope
it keeps expanding, growing ever-more inclusive over the coming
years. We love the new mix of young and old making their homes
and livelihoods in the area. And we have confidence that we
will all continue to make this a great place to live, without
seeking help from the outside. Because what we love about
it now is similar to how those who have lived here have always
loved it… through the stripping of the region’s
natural resources in its earliest years and its later shift
into a reservoir region for our nation’s largest city
to our ongoing development battles of today.
Forty years, shmorty years… the great thing we’ll
all remember from 2009 will not be how we remembered 1969,
but things we’ve accomplished this year we don’t
even realize are all that important… yet.
On a totally other front, we want to take this opportunity
to answer some of our letters in this issue sparked by a letter
in our July 30 papers that took one of our columnist’s
to task, as well as me for running anything “questionable”
in our publication. The ensuing dialogue, we believe, has
been healthy, democratic, and necessary. It’s covered
all aspects of a host of ethical questions, including the
manner in which our very views of life and death have changed
in recent years, not necessarily for the better.
As for whether it is proper or not to allow folks the right
to “vent” in venues such as our letters pages…
we believe this is one of the more important responsibilities
of the media, and of community newspapers such as ours. It
is much safer than the blocking-out of others voices and opinions
that have been occurring of late in public forums around the
country, or the verbal violence that occurs on unedited blog
Yes, we do keep an eye out for slander and meanness. But we
can’t keep people from stating opinions of things written
in our pages, especially by our columnists. It is part of
their job’s responsibilities, as news employees, to
be able to sustain such attacks.
We will ensure that the level of opinion never gets personal,
and sticks within ethical guidelines where ideals are what’s
attacked, and not people. PS