Monday, September 6, 2010

The Time of the Newspaper

My first job, as was the case for many boys during the early 60's, was a paper route. I was compensated for delivering newspapers with a monthly salary and a commission based on the number of customers I delivered papers to and collected money from. The newspaper I worked for was an evening edition. I delivered the paper Monday through Saturday. For most of my customers, this was one of two or three newspapers that they subscribed to.

In those days, newspapers were virtually everywhere: on the counter of the local hardware store, in the break rooms of factories, in the offices of physicians, and on the coffee tables of neighbors. Most of the people I was familiar with, regardless of their occupation, religion, or politics, read newspapers, kept up on current events and formulated opinions. Whether a plumber, a teacher, a foreman or an accountant, it was just something one did. And, reading the Sunday paper was almost a ritual.

Today, few of my neighbors subscribe to any newspaper. Though most of them have an opinion, few can articulate a reasonable argument for why they hold that opinion, or enumerate facts to support the position. Since the 60's many newspapers have gone out of business and many newspapers are loosing their prominence. We have a new breed of television and we have the internet, mediums where anyone can voice their opinion or position without being encumbered by facts or truths.

Back in the time of the newspaper, it seemed to me that people were more informed and more patriotic. And most of the people I knew in the time of the newspaper took real pride in their jobs. They felt good about themselves if they performed their jobs well.

Today we have a faux patriotism, a love of America because it affords some individuals the opportunity to get rich by subjugation and exploitation. Multi-level marketing has spawned multi-level employment where the product or service is of little matter. The object is to derive income from many subordinates, who do the work, without regard for their future or welfare. The big picture or long term health of American is not a consideration.

In the last decade, we essentially have been strip mining or overfishing, the middle class. If we continue to drive Americans into poverty, soon there will be no coal to mine and no fish to catch. For the Republicans the race is on. In the time of the newspaper few cared about celebrities who forgot to wear their underwear and most cared about the future of America.

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