I get inspiration from the readers of this site. I also get tips, kudos, slammed and damned. All of it OK, as long as it’s raising the level of discussion and making people think about things that aren’t necessarily on the top of people’s stuff-I-should-about list.
The recent post about the Downtown Dayton Partnership requesting the Occupy Dayton people to leave Courthouse Square during their Christmas tree lighting now has more than 200 comments. While some may scoff that it’s really driven by a half-dozen people having a pissing match, I read every comment and it makes me think as well. It’s part of the reason posts haven’t been as frequent lately (the other part is that the services of The Next Wave and my “honey-do” list have been in high demand recently).
In the course of the comments, reader Pat Offenberger, a man I’ve only met a few times via my runs for Dayton City Commission, said this about this site:
here, we’re given pretty free rein by David Esrati. I don’t know David well, and he and I disagree for a large part on politics, but I feel blessed that he has the same attitude about political discussions that I do, we can disagree, but there is no need to become disagreeable to each other. We can continue until we come to the fact we CAN agree to disagree. Another quality of David I admire is, though he has considerable more higher education than I do, he’s classy enough to hold a discussion without “talking down” to his lesser educated opponent. And he follows the credo that I was taught is the true test of an educated person. That you should be able to discuss things with people of your own level of education without boring them, or to a person with minimal education without making them feel they are stupid.
To me, this is what’s missing in politics in America. With our current system of auctions, instead of elections, screaming and sound bites have taken over civil discussion and debate. We’re looking at $4 billion being spent on “mass media” on 30-second mud-slinging at a time when we really don’t have time for it. The media has mocked the Occupy Wall Street movement, for many reasons, the main one probably being that this movement isn’t about to spend money running ads on Fox.
What’s missing in Washington, as well as in the Statehouse and even locally is a return of reason. The way to solve problems isn’t to become more disagreeable with each other- but to have a discussion that’s all inclusive.
Our local media has failed to grasp the importance of this dialog with their consumers/constituents/community. The only place to comment left with the obsolete Dayton Daily News online platform is via Facebook- and there it is even limited since all parts of the paper aren’t available online (a recent Op-Ed piece about local artist, and friend of mine, James Pate and his Kin-Killing-Kin series on black-on-black violence solicited comments- without providing an easy to find place to comment- my link is to a 2009 story about James). There are ways to engage a community through comments, using moderation software or building a system of registered users, but apparently, that’s not in Cox’s vision. And although the paper has improved vastly since January 2011 when the new regime took over; the recent article on Alaska Native Corporations being a shell for beltway bandits in government contracting and the expose of hospital billing practices are both great examples of real journalism, the one way direction of discussion is shortchanging this community.
I only have a few rules here for comments: use the same nick name when commenting- without making it an attack (Esratiisadog is not acceptable). Do not call each other names, although I allow people to call me names- I will edit slams of each other in ways you won’t like as the final voice on this site. Do not make accusations against others- without demonstrating that they are grounded, or informing me privately of your sources. I do try to follow up on all leads- and do attempt to verify stories of wrong-doing with my network of trusted sources. To those of you who have helped shed light on so many of the follies of the monarchy of Montgomery County I, and the people of our community, are incredibly grateful. I’ve managed to protect your identities and will continue to do so.
Esrati.com has been online since Jan. 21, 2006. I’ve average a post every .86 days and you’ve contributed 8.02 comments per day- making this site more yours than mine. It’s been my hope, through my many attempts in running for elected office, to help set an example of what a modern elected representative could do to stay connected with the people they are supposed to serve. So far, it hasn’t worked. So, once again, today I’m going down to the Board of Elections to get petitions for a congressional run in a district that is undefined on a date that isn’t determined so that the people can have a choice to vote for someone who believes their voices should be heard above those who’ve been buying elections and influence. I have until tomorrow at 4 to turn in 50 “approvable” signatures of registered Democrats and a filing fee. I should have the petitions by noon- if you want to stop by 100 Bonner Street to sign, the help would be welcome.
The reason I included this little news release in the bigger story of this site serving as a forum for the people, is because I don’t believe running for office to be any more newsworthy than any of you applying for a job. The only thing that would be newsworthy is if by some miracle, the people did elect me and finally have a representative who believes in discussion and debate, wjo posted every working day of his term- what he did, what he heard and what really goes on in Congress. It is supposed to be the “House of Representatives” after all, and I believe I’d do a better job representing the people than the current corporate puppet we have in Ohio 3.
Thank you for being a reader and a contributor all these years.