So I’m going on two weeks now out of the newspaper business after 44 years in it, from copy boy to editor and I’m so busy I’m not keeping up with my reading, papers stacked under my desk.
Which led to this thought: A day without a newspaper. What if journalists across the nation, writers and editors just picked a day and didn’t show up for work and papers couldn’t publish because no one was there to produce them and TV and radio had to actually report stories on their own.
Would anybody notice?
Would anybody care?
I don’t know but the last time technology — television broke the business model for newspapers in the ’50s, half the papers in the country went out of business and the survivors got fabulously rich and journalists’ salaries soared and they started toeing the line of the corporate controllers without a peep.
The situation today is even more dire. Not only can newspaper people no longer walk across the street to another paper but they have nowhere to turn to practice their craft as papers teeter on the brink and layoffs accelerate.
Are journalists capable of making a stand? I doubt it. But I raised the question in an interview with Barbara Osborn and Howard Blume for their Deadline L.A. show that airs Saturday at noon.
In my mind, it’s time for people to make a stand for what they believe in, to act like the free people Americans are supposed to be. I’ve had several opportunities in recent days to talk to and listen to people involved in a lot of different activities, civic groups of various sorts, activists of one sort or another.
Thursday afternoon, I spoke to the Valley chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a group of wonderful women who trace their ancestry back to 1776, who seemed totally responsive and interested in my rant which I guess is no more than this: Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country, or at least the city of Los Angeles.
Love of America, love of freedom was all I heard when I sat in Wednesday on a luncheon meeting of the Canoga Park-West Hills Women’s Republican Club where I was invited by a longtime Daily News reader and email correspondent, Teddy Howell, who has as open a mind and as great a commitment to solving real problems as anyone I’ve met in a long time.
It was much the same at the Warner Center Kiwanis Club where people of good humor and deep commitment to volunteerism and good works for others find common ground with each other.
Is love of America, love of freedom wrong in some way? Are those ideas obsolete? I think not, I think the liberal mind hears something that’s loaded and politically repulsive when conservatives speak that way, obscuring the fact that it’s unthinkable not to love the soul of this country or hold freedom for all precious.
And that’s my point. We need to stop talking Democrat language and Republican language. We need to stop speaking conservative and liberal language. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt a little and start speaking the common language that brings us together to work for making things better for ourselves and others.
I don’t know how anybody can look at a world torn apart by hatred, at the looming environmental catastrophe, and the breakdown of the health care system and all the other tensions of the world and not think it’s time, if it’s not already too late, to start fixing what we have broken.
Long ago I figured out that I can’t do much of anything about all those global issues but I can do something about what’s broken in my community. And so can we all. If we the people of Los Angeles can’t start fixing what’s broken here, if we can’t find a way to respect our differences in all our diversity of race, creed and religion, who can?