Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town
Oh, those small communities
All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
--John Mellencamp, lyrics
As you know, people are curious -- especially writers living in small towns. We keep our ears to the ground. That’s how we learn and it helps in developing topics for print.
Small town writers love to ask questions. We are interested in our friends and neighbors and, quite frankly, we can sometimes be too direct and too personal. It comes with the territory.
The good news is that small town writers prefer to leave pious pontifications to erudite, big-city journalists. We have the questions while they have all the answers. And, unfortunately, some national journalists have forgotten that honest reporting is supposed to come with the job.
This brings us to a few thoughts about our most recent holiday--Memorial Day. Thank goodness, the veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice were properly honored on televised broadcasts. This year, patriotic programs and the usual fanfare had to be cancelled in our small towns.
Nevertheless, the courageous men and woman who gave their lives for our national defense deserve all the appreciation that can be possibly mustered. And truthfully, there’s nothing that we can say to their families that pays adequate homage to their loved ones. We will always be indebted to those who give us the freedoms that we enjoy today.
This week, after recognizing Memorial Day, we are still facing another battle that reached our shores over two months ago, the unseen enemy you’ve heard so much about—Coronavirus.
The problem is that after listening to so many medical experts, governmental officials and national pundits, we are confused about what to believe. Predictive models are all over the place and elected federal officials aren’t working together, even when American lives are at stake.
This means there are still lessons to be learned. So, with an ear to the ground, let’s listen to a few things that some folk in our small towns are saying. And if you disagree, that’s certainly okay. It’s still a free country (at least in most of our states). Here’s what you might be hearing:
“We don’t know what to believe about Covid-19. Information keeps changing so fast.”
“China should be held accountable and free nations of the world must respond to all the unchecked threats.”
“Previous Democratic and Republican administrations have failed us miserably by allowing manufacturing to leave American shores. As citizens, we are also to blame for not being willing to pay more for American made products. It’s a serious national defense problem that must be immediately addressed.”
“Do masks really work? Are we really that concerned about others or is it more about our own safety. Are citizens afraid of being publicly shamed?”
“Georgia’s governor is owed an apology. He got it right by opening up the state’s economy while being blasted by everyone. The governor, however, has been greatly weakened by his disastrous choice of Senator Kelly Loeffler. She is much better suited to be a stock broker.”
“A great lesson about socialism can be seen in how governors are operating in some of our states. The use of tyrannical, unconstitutional rules being portrayed as legislative law will not stand. Patience is running out.”
“Nothing keeps us from hugging our children and grand-children. Virtual hugging is a crock. It’s not in our DNA. Handshakes will also come back here in small towns.”
“And if we hear keep hearing the words ‘new normal’, ‘uncharted territory’, ‘locked down’ and ‘social distancing’, we are going to start screaming!”
“Churches and schools cannot remain closed forever.”
In our small towns we are trying to make the best of a bad situation. Let’s pray hard for our military personnel and for our national leaders, especially the president. No matter our political leanings, prayers are needed. And it would be good to have the “old normal” back in our small towns so that everything is open and we can move about without concern over the current virus.