I need an environment that encourages asking uncomfortable questions. I’m tired of writing about local business leaders who won this award or that award for sitting on the board of a charity that barely does anything lasting for the community. I want to find out where the roadblocks are and who put them there. There are big juicy stories in my small town, but even with the internet there is no avenue for them to be effective when those same business leaders have such close relationships with the local media.
Living and working downtown I often see these leaders propped up and lauded regularly while passionate, talented people who truly care about the community are left unheard. Rochester is one of the poorest metropolitan areas in the country, but you would not know that from our newspapers and magazines. Our community development projects have done little to change poverty but have always looked very good (and been very profitable) for the organizations that sponsor them. Plus they make great press coverage, impressive headlines and glitzy photo-ops.
I just feel like I’m losing hope here. It’s being siphoned off by self-congratulating, disconnected wackos. There are good ones of course, and they give me warm fuzzy feelings when I get to talk to them and share their experiences, I just can’t help but feel like they’re too far from the majority. Instead they’re offered up as rare diamonds, ‘Here! This is a great person who does so much real good for the community,’ and it’s just another shiny distraction from the people who are just trying to make more money and/or please their overlords (with more money).
There’s no graceful ending to this post, just a feeling of futility.