Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

What Can I Do?

I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately for my lack of political care for so many years. I have never cared about politics, I don’t remember being affected by it, (in retrospect my parents would have hid it from us if it had.)

And well…Hell..Here we are, with a Doofas in the White House. I am at least partly to blame for that. I’m angered at the direction our country is taking, but am more angry by the fact that, as a people, divided or not, a very large portion of the United States elected him.

I simply can’t think about it any more, my head will explode I’m sure. I can plan, however, for the consequences—you know, always hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

The question is, what can I/we do about it now?

I believe community newspapers are the way to go, I’ve seen the power of a community in strife heal itself after dealing with a community editor. By community paper I don’t mean the local mainstream media. I mean the hyper-local paper that most young people don’t even know exist anymore.

I remember writing for the Taylorsville Eagle, a little start-up that gained a surprising amount of traction in the community before its unfortunate demise. An elderly lady in the community had been hounding me about several “atrocities” that were occurring in the neighborhood, and each one sounded grander than the last one.

One day, unable to avoid her any longer, I met her at the local senior trailer park community. She warned me we had to be cautious because the seniors were afraid and didn’t want my visit to bring retribution down upon them. Okay.

I walked into a room with three elderly women standing there to greet me, and they did, indeed, look afraid. Frail and afraid. I finally assured them I was safe and wanted to help. They spent the next two hours presenting me with honest and compelling evidence that everything they were saying was true. The trailer park used to be a beautiful place, they said, a small community that they were all happy to live their days out in.

But new management brought young, intimidating hooligans to the park, and they took every chance to harass the seniors, including cutting beloved rose bushes because of an implied infraction in the community’s CCR. They had installed individual gas meters to each trailer, and began charging every senior the total bill for their trailer, versus an added charge in the monthly bill. Suddenly they were demanding $200 a month from a senior who had only $300 expendable income entirely. Drugs were being sold, punks were roaming the streets, and they were being held hostage in their own homes.

Well, I went back to the office and wrote the story. We got some feedback, some positive from the seniors, a lot of flack from others for “stirring” up crap that was unnecessary. We ran a series of articles, and I spoke with local leaders, the park owners, etc. Still just rumblings in a little paper that nobody gave any credit.

The group from the trailer park decided to hold a meeting, and invited the mayor, a local Senator (Ed Mayne, God rest his soul) and representatives from the park. Quite frankly, I was a little tired of the story myself, and believed I had done all I could. But I headed to the senior center to cover the meeting anyway.

When I arrived it was obvious they had double-booked the center, the parking lot was completely full, so I assumed it was Bingo day or something. As I got closer to the building, there was a line of people out the door. I made my way through them, and when I entered the building I couldn’t believe my eyes.

There, on the stage, were the Mayor and other officials. And before them were more than 300 pissed off senior citizens. Some were standing and shaking their canes, others were yelling and pounding their walkers on the floor. They were not backing down, and obviously even the mayor didn’t know what she was walking into.

Needless to say, the seniors got taken care of. They had indeed been overcharged for various services, and the park owners agreed to reimburse them. Senator Mayne vowed to get things set right, and over the next few months we kept an eye on the story.

A year later, I got a call from one of the original seniors who had contacted me. She invited me to Christmas dinner at the park. When I arrived it was like something out of a Hallmark movie. The park was beautiful, everyone was happy, the streets were full again of seniors strolling the grounds. The owners has hired a couple to run the park who had experience dealing with seniors, and the park was once again the Utopia the seniors were used to.

Now I certainly didn’t bring down the White House. But I, through the help of a community newspaper, I helped make life better for these people. New laws were enacted to prevent abuse in trailer parks, and when it was all said and done the police thanked us, they had a better relationship with the seniors. The seniors thanked us, and even the Mayor learned to take us seriously.

So for any of my friends who are frustrated with the current state of America, yet unsure of what to do about it, I say support your community paper. Subscribe to it, read it each week, and send letters to the editor—good or bad. I truly believe that strengthening our communities, understanding each other and working together is the foundation for a revolution on a higher level.

If you are unsure of what your local community paper is, please let me know and I will be happy to help you find out.

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment