They say it was a different time. ‘They’ being the people who find it appropriate to tweet about the death of John McCain. I’m not talking about casual expressions of condolence issued by the thousands of folks who did not know the man, or only barely knew him. Their few public words are a kindness.
I am referring to the journalists, news people, correspondents and politicians, including the president of the United States, who lack the ability or desire to write at least a gracious, respectful paragraph or more about a man who was a significant presence in America for more than half a century!
I am 73 and I know that technology has changed our world. How we view it and how we communicate. It is often exciting, and has certainly broadened our horizons. But what happens when even the most meaningful and important events, the most turbulent and emotional times, are coldly reported in just a few hundred characters? Where context is non-existent and educational value considered a waste of space? When the power of the written word to capture the glory or horror of a situation is diminished? What happens to us?
Perhaps what happens is that we lose sight of the value of life. We forget kindness and exploit anger. We find it easier to hate than love. We find compromise unacceptable. Why bother, when just a few words – a tweet – takes care of it! Move on. Don’t waste time. Don’t think. Don’t feel.
I remember a time when eloquent prose was admired. History and current events were captured in books and essays. Newspapers had many columns devoted to issues. Writers wrote!
“That was a different time”, they say. I miss that time.