Local Papers Tell More Than You Might Think…

Local, small town newspapers may tell more than you might think, perhaps especially in what they don’t say. I know. I worked for a small town paper in east-central Alabama, wrote freelance articles for another half-dozen papers, and have generally followed smaller, local publications anyway. And one thing’s for sure: Small town papers respond to and cover what’s important to local residents. After all, it’s their bread and butter.

For example, the paper I worked for ran a few AP (Associated Press) articles, but for the most part covered very typical small town stuff. You know, last night’s high school basketball game, the latest meeting of the garden club, town council and country commission meetings, a new traffic light to be installed at a “heavy” traffic intersection. Typical stuff for small town papers.

However, and this is important, if a larger issue directly affected our area, we’d report on it. For example, when I was with the paper we had an issue with water usage along the Chattahoochee River. The city of Atlanta was sucking up large quantities of water from the River, thus lowering water levels along the Chattahoochee further south. This directly impinged upon our area, so … we reported on it, albeit from a local perspective.

This is true, I believe, of most local papers, especially smaller ones. Ordinarily you expect them to report on typical, small town matters. They should. Again, it’s their bread and butter. Subscribers can, and do, easily get national and international news from the larger papers, from radio, television networks, and now the Internet. Consequently, what they want from their local paper is … well, local news. Period.

This is a big part of the reason I delved into local, small town newspapers in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, particularly focusing along the Mexican border, when trying to determine whether or not there is really a crisis there. And what did I find? I ended up searching through more than 40 such papers and found only a handful, perhaps six or seven, that addressed border issues and illegal immigration at all, and those publications pretty much offered the same conclusion: There is no crisis along the border.

What really struck me, though, was the fact that out of those 40+ papers I consulted, the overwhelming majority had nothing whatsoever to say about any border problems, illegal immigration, drugs and crime (supposedly) flooding in from Mexico. Nothing. Period. So because of my own background, I knew there must not really be any “crisis” at all.

You see, I know that if there really were, and if it were directly impacting those towns and cities, the papers would be reporting it. The silence, in this case, told me more than what was reported in those other, very few local publications. Add to this the fact that, according to other larger news outlets, residents along the border are actually reacting negatively to the (false) claim that there’s a “crisis” and you know with hardly any doubt that this frenzy has been manufactured by our current President. 

Sad, really, but before signing off on this article, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of the honest, hard working, small town newspaper reporters, who keep their constituency informed so well day after day, week after week. They deserve our applause and our respect!


Read “Beyond Washington: What the Locals Have to Say About the Border ‘Crisis’” and Beyond Washington: What the Locals Have to Say About the Border ‘Crisis,’ Part II

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Alone: We Spin Our Webs

We make our beds in which to lie,

To cover ourselves before we die,

And we spin our social web

Around this self-same bed, 

To catch some unsuspecting soul

To fill in our heart’s gaping hole,

But we consume all our victims

According to Nature’s dictums,

Or else they break entirely free

And fly to where we cannot see,

But there is perhaps a better way,

More promising to spend our day,

Walking the divinely human maze

To meet another person’s face

In which we trace our very own

From an eternity hitherto unknown


Note: Inspired by Flamingle’s post entitled, “Alone.” Thank you for the inspiration!

What Love Is . . .

Is love not gracious and living self-giving?
Can love be love apart from self-emptying?
Ah! What is it, then, to think of self first
And foremost while letting others thirst
For genuine, selfless affection that bursts
From a passionately compassionate heart
That puts others first in every part of life?
Yes, this turns modern thought on its head
And puts so much pop psychology to bed!
But let it not be said love is self-centered
When surely we have best been mentored
By those who chose to invest in the other;
Besides which, one learns to love oneself
When he has begun to truly love outside
Of self in an outpouring of adoring love,
For do we ever really learn who we are
Outside of company as our guiding star?
So let us love greatly, both near and far!


Note: This poem is largely in response to not only self-centeredness but also the ideology of radical individualism. It is an aesthetic statement in favor of communialism and the idea that one “finds oneself” within the context of community and, more specifically, that one experiences authentic love in ongoing reciprocity, which begins with the giving of oneself to the other.

A Place Called Home

Setting your pace within your very own place
Known to you as home, where seeds are sown
In assurety of the security of your safe haven,
A place you do not have to hide in craven fear,
Where you can freely visit those near and dear,
Somewhere dry and warm where you fly high
And no longer have to try to smile a mile wide
Or hide how you feel, and kneel down in peace
With a new lease on life; after all you’re home
. . .
Setting your pace within your very own place
Somewhere dry and warm where you fly high

Home

Home . . . a place to call my own
Where in secret dreams are sown

A bed where to lay my head
And find the best rest for my body weary

A table where to eat my daily bread
After thankful prayer is said

Home . . . where ideas are freely sought
Home . . . where there is liberty of thought

Safe and secure from all alarm
Walled in securely from all harm

Far above and beyond mere survival
Home . . . where there is daily revival

Home . . . where God is ever so near
And there is no need for fear

Home . . . where there is the heart
And of life every best part . . . home

Happy Holiday Thinking

Do you think of the person who looks for a place to lay his head,
Wondering where he’ll get his next piece of bread?
Who finds a place to curl up against the cold winter’s night
Only to be told to move when he has nowhere to go,
Except maybe six feet below?
Or the little girl who whirls around from alleyway to alleyway
Trying to find someone who cares but only ends up
With some pervert that binds her behind locked door?
Do you consider the old woman with shopping cart
Who makes dumpsters her grocery mart?
Or the wandering band from a foreign land
They used to call home?
Or the shell-shocked children of Gaza
Who search for toys among rock and rubble plazas?
Do you think oils spills that poison drinking water
Or the mountain of bills the poor cannot afford to pay?
Or the bullets that kill amidst the shrill screams of war?
Or the ill who have no medical care
Because they cannot bear the cost?
Or the man lost in his own world without hope of escape?
Or blackened drapes, sour grapes, formless shapes,
And untold rapes?
Say, what do you think when you blink your eyes at the world?
Before you say ‘happy holidays,’ think and sink into reality . . .
* * * * * * * *
Do you consider the person who looks for a place to lay his head,
Wondering where he’ll get his next piece of bread?