Rights and Response

I just wanted to write and tell you how nice it was to read your piece, "We Are All We Have" [Commentary by Chris Barrett, July 30, 2009]. It is so refreshing to hear words of wisdom, maturity, and awareness at a time when so many seem prey to the "pseudo-news programming that emphasizes and exploits the differences between us and encourages mistrust over harmony," an apt description by you for so much of the popular media today, and a reminder that those who accept such "rantings" share responsibility for the empowered status of those opinions and ideas.

It is so rare to read a piece that touches the heart, the mind, and the soul as yours does. And your words ring so true about how we should be open to accepting those who seem different from us, and, by inference, how we should find our commonalities and discover a way to reach each other, not retreat or become aggressive towards others out of fear.

I have often presented the idea that we could have more positive images and ideas presented to us in our media if we did withhold our advertising dollars or refused to purchased products that support negative, hateful, or violent ideas and imagery, but few seem to embrace that concept. My husband and I gave up live television 12 years ago and have not missed it for a day since.

I was glad to see that you offered, in a gentle manner, the idea that we are the ones who support a system that encourages a lack of diversity, a glamorization of violence, and a mistrust of fellow beings. If we all refused to purchase these products (including media products), the system would change in response to our demands for more just, loving, and kind programming. But few seem ready to challenge established media forms, especially within the media itself. Kudos on your challenges to your audience to become more responsible and caring.

I live in northern Grainger County in a somewhat isolated mountain community and the "old ways" are evident all around me. In many ways, we are so blessed by the caring community that we live in. In other ways, I often feel like the salmon paddling upstream, and uphill. Thank you for offering your truthful words in a public manner. As others see that we can embrace the world in a different way (especially legitimized by inclusion in popular media products), things will undoubtedly change for the better.

You have made a difference by your compassion and your willingness to express it so publicly. Thank you for spending the time to create a piece that speaks to the mind and the heart.

Pam Fass

Grainger County