Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Memories and hopes

By Brooks Taylor

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

Curt Swarm’s column appears Wednesday, mine appears every-other-Friday. In his Dec. 28 column, Swarm wrote about Stephen Bloom’s less-than-flattering essay of Iowa that appeared in The Atlantic.

While I am not going to going to rehash what has already been said except to say Bloom’s view of Iowa is considerably different than the vast majority of Iowans, something Bloom said in a statement struck me as peculiar.

Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa (he is spending this year as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan), said in his statement, “Sorry if I offended, but that’s the real job of journalism.”

Huh? Says who?

It has been decades since I have been in a journalism class but reflecting back to those days, none of my instructors defined offending people as the real job of journalism.

While journalists, like publishers, city administrators, school superintendents and loan officers sometimes are not popular people in a community because they have to use the word “no,” I know of no editor nor reporter who sees it as their mission to offend people.

Through the years, I have learned that just the nature of the business offends enough people, so we don’t have to attempt to provoke others.

Yes, our job is to foster conversation through editorials and columns but not to slander and offend people.

If Bloom is passing that “job requirement” on to his students, the students are being sorely misguided.

There is no doubt that many Iowans are anxious for the Tuesday night’s caucuses. However, I don’t know if they are anxious to support their candidate or because they will receive a couple month reprieve from campaign advertising.

I won’t predict the GOP winner, my prediction, rather, is that Ron Paul will surprise.

In the last two presidential election cycles (2008 and 2012), I have observed politics from opposite sides of the state, but the view of Paul has been similar. There is no candidate, Republican or Democrat, who has as impassioned supporters as Paul.

Never have I been able to come up with a reason for that passion, but in talking to his supporters, I hear considerable support for his pledge to downsize the federal government and his opposition to war.

Paul may not win (although he very likely could) but he will make a statement Jan. 3.

In yesterday’s News, an Associated Press-Gfk poll on reflections on 2011 and prospects for 2012 was published. Findings showed that Americans are optimistic about 2012 (nearly always the case for a new year, sort of like being a Cubs’ fan on opening day), but most say 2011 was a year they would rather forget.

Amen to the thought on 2011.

When I think back on 2011, I don’t feel many warm fuzzies. Gasoline prices were at the highest level ever, a February snowstorm paralyzed the area and resulted in one death, summer heat and humidity was suffocating, I contracted a serious illness (and a more serious hospital bill) and my time with my two daughters was nearly non-existent.

Oh yes, there is more, but one paragraph should convey the message.

It is debatable whether I agree with those seeing a brighter 2012. Maybe the best approach is taking one day at a time, hoping and praying along the way.

However, I do hope that you and yours do have a happy new year.