My son, the genius
Now, I know that is what everyone thinks when their child is small, but hey this kid is pushing 40, and he still gets a vote from me. I am referring to a column he wrote in the last newspaper I got from him. For those that don’t know, he owns a small weekly newspaper in Wisconsin Rapids (which would obviously be in Wisconsin – you think?). I get my paper in the mail so I am sure I am behind a week, maybe more but I finally dug around and found it. It is in the May 11, 2012 issue and is titled, “Future rests within ourselves, not fantasies of new large employer.” Without repeating the entire column let me paraphrase his thesis. Jeff says that too many people in the area are waiting for some “big” employer to sweep into the area and open some “turn of the century” factory to offer employment to most of the residents. However, those same people want all the struggle and fight that came out of those factories to give the workers adequate pay and benefits should come with it. Jeff goes on to say that those days are gone and all the wishing in the world are not going to bring them back. It is now up to each small community to fight back and the most important part of that is for people to SUPPORT THEIR LOCAL BUSINESSES. Those other towns that are 15 or 20 miles away are just thrilled with the money you go and give to them, but there is not any of them that care about your local animal shelter, or Kiwanas Club, or any other local non-profit trying desperately to stay alive for your benefit.
And yes, I live in the same type of small town in Texas (although it is much, much, much more conservative) and does not have as many local business so I understand that it can cost more. A little inconvenience to you can mean the difference in your child’s school having 20 students in a classroom or 40 students in a classroom. And if you think any large corporation is going to come in and save you or anyone else other than their CEOs you are just living in a dream world.
The most impressive thing about the column (in addition to the foresight) is that at the end he challenges anyone that has bought something outside the area to call him and he will find it in Wisconsin Rapids or he will give them a reward. (It’s some kind of discount to some local place and remember I’m in Texas so I’m not sure what it is.)
Of course the “stump the editor” prize if you do stump him is not large, but hey it’s a SMALL TOWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER THAT HE STARTED WITH HIS FAMILY.
So, “wake up ‘merica.” Let’s poor people help each other instead of helping rich people get richer.