Whitewater doesn’t have, and hasn’t had, a legitimate press that would serve as a check on political or corporate power. On the contrary, what’s passed for reporting in our area is merely written sycophancy. In this way, Whitewater has been ahead of a national trend toward a weaker press, or no press at all.
Yet, before plentiful newspapers, before a vigorous press, America had vigorous inquiry and debate. We’re now returning to something like our early era of pamphleteering, made incomparably better for being both audio-visual and also more dynamic between readers and authors. For the waning press, the new way represents a shock of inclusion, but that shock is all to the good.
What, then, shall we do, in this new (but in some ways old) world?
This world will not be won through grand pronouncements, but through daily work, repeated over months, seasons, and years. One begins every day with new work to do, knowing there is always more to do, tenaciously approached from the perspective of a dark horse underdog.
That sort of work requires methods, standards, and goals.
Methods. One should have a method, in the case of a blogger, with Steps for Blogging on a Policy or Proposal. There should be a discernible pattern to one’s work.
Critically, though, method should meet one’s standards and goals. Just as the Romans had to build a fleet, mostly from scratch, to battle Carthage, so one sometimes has to build new things to achieve one’s goals. In those cases when a new method or medium is required to carry the day, one learns, builds, and deploys those methods or media accordingly.
If one needs ships, and doesn’t have them, one learns shipbuilding, and then builds ships.
Standards. We are an advanced people, as are many of our friends abroad. We deserve more than dodgy data, deceptive claims, and lazy work.
The overwhelming number of people in any community are sharp and capable; society would not be possible otherwise. Libertarians (as I am) do not hold this as true because we say it; we say it because it is true.
(Some number of people in any community are permanently disabled or disadvantaged. We do not need obligations from them; they need comfort from us.)
For our city, then, we owe ourselves the best of Wisconsin, of America, and of civilized places beyond, for all Whitewater.
Goals. A community’s future may take diverse ideological hues, of left, right, or center. That will always matter less than that our community – each person, individually – is assured the rights of all of America, and all of Wisconsin, for all of Whitewater.
One can see that a community’s fixation on a few key people, stakeholders, or influencers is both childish and destructive. It’s to the good that this way of thinking slowly wanes in Whitewater: it’s been bad for our politics, and not a single mature & reasonable person will ever miss it.
Those who glory in personality are proud; those who submit to such people are pitiful.
The goal, then, should be rights universally upheld, but the obstacle is bias, partiality, and the overweening entitlement of a few against the many. It’s to the best, all things being otherwise fair, to balance against power, as Churchill observed of Britain in the nineteenth century: “We have in all occasions been the friend of the second strongest power in Europe and have never yielded ourselves to the strongest power.”
So it should be with commentary: balancing against the conflict-riddled, influence-seeking of a few, who would manipulate politics or economics to their illegitimate ends.
In method, standards, and goals this is decisive: a dogged commitment each day, assuring a better future.