|The old Monitor Building when they were situated downtown|
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
This essay published in the Concord Monitor 11/17/19
Rebecca Solnit, one of my favorite writers, happens to be the editor of The Best Essays of 2019. I’m guessing this book won’t become a bible for Trump supporters, mainly because of one essay.
Solnit included, We are the Resistance by Michelle Alexander, because it demonstrates the author’s ability to think outside the box by disputing the conventional belief that those who oppose Trump are “the resistance.”
On the contrary, she says, “Viewed from the broad sweep of history, Donald Trump is the resistance. We are not.” She equates those of us who believe in diversity and universal human rights to a river, “sometimes powerful, tumultuous, and roiling with life; at other times meandering and turgid” but always moving.
The river is a perfect metaphor for our plight: Rather than viewing ourselves negatively as a dam holding something back, we empower ourselves by identifying with the river, a powerhouse of nature whose forward movement is inevitable.
Solnit asserts that essays like this are powerful currents propelling the river forward, churning out ever more inclusive perspectives on race, gender, climate, and social justice.
She says, “we live in an essayistic age,” where some of the key transformations in our country have been the result of arguments advanced in essays, not individual ones, generally “but flocks of essays that fill the sky like birds.”
I agree with Solnit and believe, on the local level, the new format of the Concord Monitor is doing the same by providing a roosting place for flocks of local writers, from a variety of backgrounds, to enrich us in “The Forum” section of the paper.
These local scribes, on a consistent basis, challenge us to broaden our horizons by embracing diversity, social justice, and equality for us all, while bringing it all home by celebrating our unique sense of place, including specific ideas on how to make our local communities thrive.
I can say, without doubt, that I’ve enjoyed and profited more from these local folks, than the old, big-time national columnists. However, looking ahead, I worry about the future of the Monitor.
One-fifth of all newspapers have gone out of business in the last 14 years, and more are closing all the time. One can’t help noticing that the Monitor is getting slimmer all the time.
Losing the Monitor would be like losing an old friend, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence when you are 74. Already this year, my other local paper, the Suncook Sun, succumbed without warning, erasing access to my most local news happenings.
How do we cope with this accelerating loss of access to what’s happening around us? What happens to our democracy if all our news comes from corporate giants and Russian bots on Facebook.
Everyone across the political spectrum has an answer. Folks on both the extreme left and right say we need a revolution. In an old essay in The Nation back in 2009, my mentor Rebecca Solnit claims the revolution is already happening.
In fact, she points out “we have thousands of them, being carried out quite spectacularly over the past few decades, community gardens and childcare co-ops and bicycle lanes and farmers’ markets and countless ways of doing things differently and better.”
The revolution is already happening in bits and pieces all over the place – but not much has been done to connect the dots. And that’s why we need the Concord Monitor!
The underlying vision is “neither state socialist or corporate capitalist” but something we in New England are intimately familiar with: direct democracy, as in town meetings and local control.
That’s my vision: Connecting the dots by each of us buying local, keeping profits in the community, enabling we, the people, to prosper, rather than corporate titans in NYC or Silicon Valley.
The more we buy local, the more new, local businesses, farms, and community spaces will emerge. At each turn of the wheel, more profit will stay in the local community.
Completing the circle, all these local businesses and farms, acting locally, will advertise in the Concord Monitor, making it once again – along with the local community – vibrant and prosperous.
And here’s the final piece of my vision: Harkening back to its roots, and in celebration of community, the Monitor returns to its brick and mortar home in downtown Concord.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
|Florida Flamingo Jean Stimmell©2019|
"I have long been fascinated by the use of “oracles” in shaping human thought — including such devices as augury (in ancient Rome), the I Ching (in China), the Tarot (in Europe), and Rorschach tests (in western psychology). It is my understanding that such practices basically function as mirrors — by confusing the rational mind, they unlock the user’s subconscious, allowing insights to arise from within."
quote by JonathanHarris from “A silent Place."