It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt. Once we become accustomed to the “new, bright and shiny,” we may come to view that which held our praise before as being “old, dull and uninteresting.” This is true with most things and, being the humans we are, it is at times inevitable. What we must guard against is the need to become bitter as a result.
We can look all around and see the evidence of this unfortunate practice.
For example, travel to any large city and compare the surroundings to your past memory of the landscape. More often than not, the landscape has changed, sometimes for the better but over time it fades. Favorite hangouts may have changed names. Restaurants change owners and menus. What was once attractive before has become blighted.
We all like the shiny new places that come to town. We see them on television commercials. We hear them on the radio. But once they become another piece of the landscape or fail to keep up maintenance, they become objects of scorn. And then, they move on and leave behind the skeletal remains surrounded by expanses of asphalt, hoping for someone to come along and make them new and shiny again. They follow the money — always have and always will. Little Rock money moved southwest to Bryant. Once Bryant is full, money will move to Benton because of the crowds and congestion shiny and new always bring along. The problem is that you can’t go back. Well, you actually can but not without expense and patience. These things don’t happen fast.
We see it in our politics, local all the way to Washington, D.C. We tend to go for sizzle over steak, flash over substance. However, once the flash and sizzle fade, we come face-to-face with reality, promises not kept and a feeling of disillusionment. We turn on those we put into office. We criticize. We draw sides. What we often fail to understand is that the cause of the ailment we feel is not the office holder or the candidate. They are simply the symptom. Our own complacency is the cause. Cure it and the symptoms disappear. In the meantime, we grow weary.
We see it in our media outlets, from radio to television to websites to newspapers. We see it in the presentation of stories. We see it in omission of facts or skewing of them. Over time, we tend to see the flaws without paying attention to the issues or the content. Spelling. Personal bias. Thin skin. Being the humans we are, this is understandable and a natural consequence. We are all guilty of this, myself included.
But as we enter a transition time at this paper, I ask that we suspend the weariness and take time to map out a future of which we may all be proud. New ideas. New approaches. All are wanted and all are welcomed. All may not be practical or even plausible, but all are wanted.
We pledge to you, the members of this county and community, to do everything possible to dig deeper, present the facts in a fair and consistent way and leave you to decide the merits of an issue.
We pledge to cover the county, not just the major cities. We need your help to do this and we have new ideas to accomplish this goal. Stay tuned.
We pledge to keep any commentary or opinion on an issue within the constraints of an editorial, an opinion, a letter to the editor or a columnist. News reporting will be the realm of news and facts only. If we fail to live up to this pledge, we expect to be called on it.
We pledge to be responsive in a straightforward manner without rhetoric. A straight question deserves a straight answer.
We pledge that all dealings with the community will be with open arms. This is your newspaper.
We pledge to focus on the future, but remember the past and not repeat the lessons learned from it.
There may be some of you out there saying “yea, right. I want some of what this guy is on!” or “those rose-colored glasses won’t be on for very long.” The wishful thinking aspect of it all is not lost on this writer. But, like it or not, the rose-colored glasses aren’t coming off. They aren’t there for putting the best spin on situations. They are there to filter the weariness so that reality can be seen as it is, without bias.
Join us. There are plenty of glasses to go around. It’s going to be a great ride!
Brent Davis is a lifelong resident of Benton and Saline County. The Courier has been part of his life for as long as he can remember and he will soon take over the Courier’s Editor-in-chief position. He is a graduate of Benton High School.