One Bold Step

Everyone talks a great game about changing the world, or even just their lives, but courage, while free, comes with one price: action. I want to share my bold step with you, and, if you write to me with your bold step, and it's timely, I'll post it on my site every couple of weeks, if not more often.

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Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Director of Research for (aka: The Foundation Foundation). Formerly with Air America Radio Phoenix ("Froggy Went A Marchin..."). Sang the National Anthem at a rally in Phoenix with Cindy Sheehan. Loves: chocolate, flowers, perfume (my grandmother), great music, politics, and a whole-hearted appreciation of the truth (Are there really "conspiracy theories" or do we need more FOIAs?). Seeker of justice and agent for change.

Monday, March 20, 2006

In Memory Of...

This past Saturday was seven months, to the day, since my grandmother passed away. On this day, my grandfather began his final battle for life -- a battle he would lose in the early hours of yesterday morning.

I had the priviliedge of spending a portion of Saturday evening taking a break from the emotions, the machines, the monitors, and the struggles of old age via a gathering around a campfire, courtesy my Toastmasters friend, John. After eating some bratwurst, we settled around the fire and listened to stories. I started off reading Edgar Allen Poe's short story Morella. It was a haunting tale of a man that settled for a woman who haunted him throughout her life with her grim outlook, German philosophies, and gloomy disposition. She died during childbirth and left him a daughter who, through the genius of fantasy, grew terribly fast and became a spitting image of her mother, in every conceivable way, including her morose personality. The child was named, after years of searching for a name, Morella, and died thereafter, only to be entombed next to the mother. The story was fitting for a fire, and, although I nearly lost my eyesight squinting into the reflecting firelight to read it, it was worth the effort. John told a similar, if slightly more lighthearted tale, and then we evolved into trying to create our own "story-in-the-round." There were references to all sorts of silly, and serious, things: the Texas brush fires, Napoleon's second coming, the devastation of Katrina, needing to "clean up," Morella, ghostly children, and, of course, little green men (What is a good ghost story around a campfire without little green men?).

The highlight of my evening, besides the company and the stories, was an all too brief conversation with Louis Hodges, Professor Emeritus of Ethics in Journalism at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Hodges, not only an astute journalist but also a very fine horseshoe competitor, and I discussed today's problems in journalism. Two important topics came up. The first was the idea that until the blogs, while noted, by me, that they're admirable in task, can come under an umbrella of editing by credible journalists of standing, they won't be entirely credible sources of information. The editors need to be present so that necessary fact checking can be done before information is disseminated into the mainstream of the Internet. I inferred that this goes for blogs on both sides of the political spectrum. The other issue was that too often all we get from journalists is conflict, and that politicians understand this is what drives ratings, particularly with television and radio news. As a result, journalism is often more about ratings and money than it is about presenting problems and their potential solutions, real news, to the public so that its members can make their own best choices using the given information.

I'll note here that I would like to have taken the time to get into a more in depth interview, however, given the circumstances, it was quite an opportunity. Noteworthy from our discussion was one more point: that anyone can be a journalist. If you can develop a sense of ethical conduct and stick to it while being sensitive to the people whom you interview, you can be a journalist. Writing well helps, but it's not the key, here.

I will leave you with these thoughts as I prepare for my grandfather's funeral on Wednesday. With the reminder that life does not last forever, and is precious, comes the idea of what is worth fighting for while we're on this earth. I hope that we can all find a new reserve and strength to keep soldiering on into that good night.

With love to my grandfather... "The Jokemaster of Sun City"...
May heaven smile upon your presence and the spirits laugh with you forever.