I have been on vacation for the past month...time (well) deserved and time (well) spent. I come back and get ready to start blogging again, and look what happens. Findlay made the national news again.
I had people ask me at work today whether I was going to write about the Washington Post article, and I said sure. When asked what I was going to say, my answered surprised them a little.
I may be getting soft in my old age, but I wasn't upset by what was written. Talking to others about candidates, issues...well, anything, I know how uninformed people can be. If someone has not taken the time to really find out about a candidate or issue, of course they are going to accept what they hear and take it as fact.
Over the past 18 months of debates, commercials, campaigning and the most in-depth analysis and coverage of any election in my lifetime - how could someone not have every opportunity to learn about those running for office? Why does it amaze us that in a world where we need instant gratification, that people do not take the time to slow down, do some research and become better informed.
I have read the article a few times now and can see how members of our community can be upset. It stings when someone points out some flaws. Was it the opinions stated by the author that upset people, or was it the facts (either direct quotes of individuals, or people refusing to read information, or doors being slammed in people's faces) that has us (quietly) concerned?
Generalizations hurt and can be misrepresentative of what is really going on, but chances are that we have all done that. Whether it is talking about those yahoos at the BMV, or the way the city wastes our tax dollars, or how all the bozos in Washington should be thrown out - we all know that we aren't speaking about EVERYONE, but just how we have interpreted a specific experience to make the generalized comment. Besides the headline, I did not take much umbrage with the content of the article or what was being presented.
Despite how much I love this community, and how great I think Findlay is, you and I both know of people who are a little racist...or are not open to change...or takes rumors as fact...or do not care about getting all the information. How we react to this (constructive) criticism will show more about our character than anything a reader can take from this article. For an area whose reputation has been tarnished a little, it is now time to show the rest of the nation how truly great this community is.
- We could invite Barack Obama to the area to speak about racism and religious profiling in America.
- We could host a conference that takes on the topics of race and religion in this country, and what can be done to affect change.
- We could hold a public forum where people from different cultures and races share with us, and we learn just a little bit more about them.
It hurts me that Findlay, as a whole, has been cast in a negative light. Growing up in this city and making the decision to raise my family here, I am fully aware of the plethora of positives this community has to offer. Unfortunately, all it takes is one columnist...talking to just the right people...and you know the rest.
The question I have for each of you is, 'What are you going to do now?'
- Are you going to be one of the people who complains about Findlay getting a raw deal...or are you going to invest the time to learn more about the candidates running for the most powerful position in the world?
- Are you going to be one of the people who writes a letter to the editor saying how you do not know anyone who is racist...or are you going to go to sit with your neighbor and discuss with them the things that divide us in this country and how we can make it better?
- Are you going to be one of the people who sits at home on election day...or are you going to become an informed voter, make an intelligent, informed decision and then go out and vote?
I often tell my children that they choose their own actions and reactions when faced with a problem. No one forces them to act one way or the other - part of growing up is learning from experiences and making sure you do things better the next time.
Instead of reacting negatively, let's take this as a call to arms to make things better. Instead of being infuriated that someone from the 'liberal media' bashed us, let's discuss how to get better informed. Instead of fretting that business or families might not come to Findlay now, let's show them what a great place this community is.
Findlay, the choice is up to each of us. I know we'll do the right thing.