fourth estate

I don’t know about you, but, for me, the news, even as it dominates our daily lives, has become absolutely worthless. It’s become nonstop coverage of government, government figures, government data, government posturing, government restrictions, government policing, government cover-ups, government blah-blah-blah. Oh, and, still, a whole lot of sports. 

I’m really sick and tired of government 24-7. I have no use for glorified sports. And it all looks like propaganda to me.

Remember what news used to be? 

Good old-fashioned newspapers used to have a local, community focus. Yes, you could read what your local government was up to, but you could also read about businesses, about community programs, about social events, about local concerns. There used to be whole sections devoted to features — glimpses into what cool things people in your community were into, along with what churches were up to, what was going on in the schools (actual education, not just controls and sports), art, music, books, movies, cooking, and more. Columnists were local people writing about the community, or about how big issues impacted the local community. 

These newspapers actually served to connect us with our communities and society and ideas.

Now, there isn’t much community to be had — in newspapers or elsewhere. Most community newspapers were swallowed up by national media entities which reduced them to a local story or two surrounded by a wealth of wire stories on the usual government and sports crap. They might still include some local crime information because that’s useful, divisive propaganda. They might throw in a dose of a generic wire feature to give the illusion there’s real people out there — somewhere.

I look at the last vestiges we have of local news, and it’s all pretty much worthless whether online or in print. It’s just garbage. 

The big news outlets, obviously, amount to garbage, serving only to remind us on a daily basis how extremely propagandized we are. 

Hence, there’s the usual sorting through of blogs and social media, much of which is now conveniently censored. 

It all serves to erode and oppress community and agency, and, God forbid, ideas. And it’s no accident. Nevertheless…

seems like an opportunity.

a whole new kind of garden

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey gets credit for showing up and engaging with the protestors there. He’s all about police reform, just like we’ve been hearing for years all over the country. 

When asked, however, he indicated that he would not support fully defunding the department at the epicenter of the current unrest. That response was met with immediate scorn from the gathering of protestors surrounding him. They jeered him from the event, the crowd parting for his shamed departure.

Calls for reform, at this point nothing more than a tired rejoinder, are just not enough.

And if you weren’t convinced that reform is not enough, have a moment to consider the members of the Buffalo, New York emergency response team — all of whom resigned their roles on that team (though not their jobs) in solidarity with the two now charged with felonious assault on a 75-year old protestor. They and others assembled to cheer those two after their release. Do the citizens of Buffalo feel safer now?

What is this group of people really about? They can avert their eyes and walk past a bleeding old man laying on the ground after members of their own delivered blows to him, but they’ll show up enthusiastically in a way that ultimately communicates the notion that laying blows on a 75-year old non-violent protestor is somehow justified in their world.

It is not enough to talk simple reform. All of the various attempts at reform still led to this day.

Defunding these departments and diverting the monies to positive, supportive development in the communities makes all the sense in the world. After watching so much police violence now and through the years, and considering some of the toxic police union rhetoric, fully defunding does not sound unreasonable.

As in disband. Let ‘em all go. Phase our current departments out, and start over with a whole new approach. 

We wouldn’t even call our new groups ‘police’ or use the militarized moniker ‘officers’ — or, for that matter, captains, sergeants, units, etc. Forget all that military stuff, including the weaponry.

No, I’m not sure what we’d call them but their objective would be laser focused on peace and safety for the people. They would be trusted community partners, not an opposing, militarized force acting as the muscle of the government and the privileged. They would value life and quality of life over property. 

It will require a lot of rethinking.

It is something that needs to be fleshed out in a community process. One that ought to get started in communities across the nation.

Let’s start a whole new kind of garden. Let’s do it permaculture style – sustainable, supporting life, resilient, caring, and fair.