Timely message lost in cyberspace
November 03, 2010
Sometimes things do get lost in cyberspace...including myself when I'm researching an interesting subject.
When I get lost there, the consequences of time suckage are mine alone. When people try to communicate with me over the Internet and those communications get lost, the consequences are more dire.
If I do not receive an email or notice that someone has submitted something over the Web site, there can be the appearance that I am not concerned with their request, opinion or item; the impression that I am in some way ignoring it. There can also be the sad fact that whatever it was being communicated is of a timely nature and that's why it's being sent. The person wants something in the next issue of the paper and presumably sending me an email is a good way to make sure that happens.
The problem is sometimes I don't get the email. I do not know why this is, considering how much irrelevant email I do receive.
There's always a chance that I inadvertently delete emails. This is rare, but not totally unheard of. The inbox on some days is so diluted with junk communications promising to make me rich, send me to jail for not paying taxes, resolve any sexual issues, let me know I've just won millions, etc. etc. that sometimes I highlight big widths of the messages and hit the delete button. First, I scan the subject lines to make sure I'm not tossing out anything that's real. One time I realized that stuck in the middle of a big block of junk emails was something important. I hit delete just as I re-glanced at the subject lines. I panicked, then ran to our resident computer expert and all-knowing technophile Susie. Suz talked me down and walked me through the process of retrieving double deleted emails. I got it back.
So what I'm trying to say is I don't ignore emails that aren't junk.
Unfortunately, last week an email was sent to me from a reader who took the time to share an opinion about yesterday's election. It would have been a great piece to include in the Oct. 27 issue where others had shared their political points of view. I didn't receive the email. Didn't discover that it hadn't been received until Wednesday. The day the paper is out. Too late for the letter to be published before the election. But not too late for the opinion to be heard, I believe. I'd still like to get this out there, though the election is over. The fact is the political landscape—such that it is—remains at stake.
Here's the letter, and my regret that it was temporarily lost in cyberspace:
For many reasons, interest in politics is lacking in this country, so whenever people become active in our government, it is a positive thing. Representative democracy is not a spectator sport, and it sometimes gets messy when we disagree, but informed discussion of the issues facing us is essential, so it is good to see more people get involved in the democratic process.
What gives me concern for the state of our country at this point in time is that the enthusiasm seems to be expressed mainly by those in the so-called grass roots movement called the Tea Party whose goal is to dismantle almost every government program and whose members seem oblivious to the forces pulling their strings and fueling their movement, forces that do not necessarily serve the best interests of the typical Tea Partier. They quote the Bill of Rights as if they are the only ones who honor it or know what it contains. They call anyone who supports the President's agenda derogatory names. They blame every problem that exists on "the government" as if it were some evil entity with the vile desire to take away the rights we hold dear. I have read the editorials and letters in this paper, most of which seem fueled by misplaced anger and lack specifics and facts. I keep hearing about passing massive debt on to future generations, but the
flag-waving citizens, dressed like Uncle Sam and shoving copies of the Constitution in front of cameras, never carry any signs about the hugely expensive wars we have been involved in for over ten years. That debt was hidden from us by the last administration and that debt will be a larger burden to our descendants than any bail out or stimulus package will be. Relatively few American families have sent a son or daughter to serve in our volunteer armed forces. This time, the threat of the draft has not been a factor in forcing us to think about whether these wars are worth fighting. I can be a patriot and be against these wars. I can support the troops and wish they had never been sent to fight. I can support a President who wants to move power away from moneyed interests without being tagged as a complete socialist. And I can love my country and wonder why the anger and frustration of our suffering populace are not focused on the real causes of our problems. We live in very trying times and the solutions will not be quick and easy. Political interest and activism are crucial to a healthily functioning government, but let's focus on facts and not be carried away by anger, impatience, and a movement that wants us to think the solutions lie in going backward.
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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.