Is it more choices in popcorn toppings? More drink options? More comfortable seats? Larger screens? More 3-D? More earth-shaking sound? Theaters closer to homes? More coupons?
In some room somewhere, a bunch of somebodies are trying to figure out how to get people to vote for the challenger instead of the incumbent.
Is it nasty ads? Is it town halls? Should there be debates? Should we go door-to-door? Is it lawn signs? Television ads? Pictures of the family? Is it word of mouth? Should we focus on records? Will anti-incumbent fever carry us through? Will support from a fanatical national group put us over the top?
Somewhere, a group is trying to figure out how to get people to fly more. Another group is working to get people to stop smoking. Another group needs people to buy more postage stamps. Another group is trying to figure out how to get more funding to education. Or military strength. Or social work. Or retirement benefits. Another group is meeting to figure better how to share a religious message with the world. Other groups are meeting to improve theater attendance, or purchases of Twinkies, cars or cameras.
And with the advanced technologies we now play with, there are more groups than ever meeting on things never before at risk, like book buying.
The motivation behind these groups varies. For some it’s money, for some it’s fame, power or influence, for some it’s compassion.
I have been in my share of rooms with bunches of people trying to figure things out and I must say my causes were good ones.
When you have a passion, it’s hard to understand how others don’t share it. And darn it, no matter how good your cause, you usually have to have money to make it happen. Artists can create more art if someone buys their work. That money buys the oils and the canvases and keeps them from having to get a job at a furniture store.
An author can only write a second book if the first one sells (just kidding, writers will put out another book even with boxes of the first one in the basement…don’t ask me how I know). The politician with the most money wins. The theater that sells the most tickets stays open. Even the charity needs to have funding to make the difference it hopes to make.
Right now I sit, on occasion, with those who try and get support for a community newspaper. This one, in fact.
As one by one newspapers close, or shrink, or layoff or limit their publication frequency, the feeling becomes more and more distressing. And newspapers switching to Internet readership hasn’t proven enough to finance the reporting necessary.
Could I say here I have a passion for the newspaper industry? For the independent voice that lets people know what’s happening in their world: Maybe the latest studies, maybe the latest crime, maybe an interesting person nearby, maybe a rare event, maybe the latest council meeting that you don’t have to attend because a reporter does.
I’ve never been good at persuading.
But if it’s something you already believe, if you too know the value of news from an independent source, renew that subscription – any subscription, tell that advertiser you saw their ad in the paper – any paper, advertise, share.
And if you feel strongly that you’d like more of this or less of that, and if you love this and are annoyed by that, and if you would give subscriptions to each of your kids who are away from home if just this one thing were different, tell us.
Some things are fun, like movies. Some things are necessary, like anti-smoking campaigns. Some things are worthwhile, like the arts.
Some things would be sorely missed, like an independent press.