My mom grew up in an immigrant enclave in Brooklyn. When her father died a few short months before the Depression began in October 1929, he left a widow with limited English and three children.
To help support the family, my mom – a woman who loved to read and learn – had to drop out of high school in her sophomore year.
Growing up, I learned a lot from this natural born teacher. Perhaps the greatest lesson was this:
“Always judge people as individuals.”
As a child, I incorporated that as a part of our human and our American values.
I find myself thinking about that often these days, as I hear our president-elect group people into boxes and tweet and speak about them as a single entity. A particularly disturbing example has been ”the crooked media”.
I now understand the value of judging people as individuals on another level. I see that to ignore this value is to create a tool for abuse of power. Destroy the credibility of news providers and you can control the masses through opinions – your opinions. You are accountable for none of your actions.
Donald Trump is our president-elect and will soon be our president. We have to hope for his success. It will be our national success. He was elected under our rules (even though those rules allowed a victory with well over a million fewer votes…but that’s another blog).
However, support does not come at any price. It does not come with a sacrifice of our values.
It is tempered by vigilance…
“The press doesn’t stop publishing, by the way, in a fascist escalation; it simply watches what it says. That too can be an incremental process, and the pace at which the free press polices itself depends on how journalists are targeted. “ Naomi Wolf
“When the public’s right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered.” Christopher Dodd
The Family Guardian website, which describes itself as a non-profit Christian ministry has an excellent page compiling Thomas Jefferson’s quotes on the value and importance of a free press for our nation. They summarize…
“A press that is free to investigate and criticize the government is absolutely essential in a nation that practices self-government and is therefore dependent on an educated and enlightened citizenry. On the other hand, newspapers too often take advantage of their freedom and publish lies and scurrilous gossip that could only deceive and mislead the people. Jefferson himself suffered greatly under the latter kind of press during his presidency. But he was a great believer in the ultimate triumph of truth in the free marketplace of ideas, and looked to that for his final vindication.”