A New Year Begins…
… with the Providence Journal declaring itself part of the old, dead Rhode Island. Some of the paper’s journalists have been doing an admirable job of trying to cover Rhode Island as we all see it, but its list of “10 people to watch” in 2010 consists of:
- An arts entrepreneur
- A far left healthcare activist
- A social-service-oriented pastor
- A leader in a Providence student group
- A long-time central figure in the RI labor movement
- An Hispanic activist working with the U.S. Census
- A wind-farm executive
- A left-wing legislator likely to become House Speaker
- A moderate Republican mayor
- A big-dollar-hire, centralizing, unelected education commissioner
This isn’t to say that the choices aren’t individually defensible from a “news maker” perspective — some of them are even obvious — but the only one even close to arguably involved in deep statewide reform is Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, and as I indicated, she’s a hired dynamo working from within government. Where’s OSPRI, RISC, RIRA, the RI Tea Party, Operation Clean Government, Common Cause Rhode Island, RIILE, the Moderate Party, or any one of the various talk radio hosts? Anybody. The Providence Journal ignored the fight for Rhode Island’s soul in preference for identity groups and special interests, and even by that attenuated method, it didn’t consider right-leaning reform worthy of inclusion.
My characterization of an old, dead Rhode Island is not a statement of braggadocio with regard to political and cultural victory of a new Rhode Island. It’s a description of our choice as between killing an old way of doing things in this state or watching the state itself die. In some respects, one could suggest that the Providence Journal compiled a list of people to watch with the intention of stopping their political activism.
To be honest, if this weren’t an election year during a dire time, I’d be moving Anchor Rising back to the category of occasional hobby in my personal scheduling. We’ve been at this for half a decade, now, and although we’ve grown a respectable readership and thereby gained some satisfying privileges, all of the opportunities that have arisen through that effort have been to provide more free content in exchange for the potential for vague additional opportunities. I reach the down-slope of my ’30s, this year, and I need better prospects with greater definition.
That state of being applies to Rhode Island, as well. If things don’t turn around with this budget cycle and with the coming election, productive, ambitious Rhode Islanders will have very little reason to stay. The next ten years won’t be a period of rebirth and exciting growth, but a lost decade of struggle and wallowing. We’re off the cliff, and salvation is do or die.
So I, for one, am taking the Projo’s new-year step into line with the old guard as a motivator for renewed effort. Somebody’s got to do something. We’ve got to make every feasible effort to turn the tide. Anchor Rising was created for that purpose, but in order for the purpose to be served, we’re going to need your participation and your support. I’ll hurl myself at the wall of Rhode-apathy for another year, but if we’re going to break through, 2010 will have to see not just a shift in increment, but in level of combined effort and response.