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Small acts of civic duty: useless or helpful?

Posted in Life & Love

I do try hard to move through the world minding my own business, tending to my little patch of life, but the world is not making it easy for me.

Navigating rain, fog and slippery canyon turns at 7 in the morning, all the while composing a post in my head about always saying to others how they make us feel, my hearing picks up a brief news item, wafting out of the radio: Apple has agreed to drop the New York Times from their app store in China in exchange for market access. This news bothers me and interrupts my stream of thoughts.

Once I came home from work, I looked into the matter a bit more in-depth and, while it is not as clear-cut that Apple blocked the Times in order to keep on selling their wares like crazy to Chinese youth, I still composed a brief email to Tim Cook to voice my displeasure. While not a Sino expert who could possibly opine on the merits of a Western-style democracy in China, what is the point of being the richest company in the world if you can’t leverage your wealth to stand up for what you believe in? Like free access to reliable information?

My very first letter to the editor was written at age 17. My father and I had opposing political views and read very different newspapers. Because the one he read was edited by a brilliant journalist with a lot of integrity who happened to think differently than I did, I would read some of the op-eds. One of them must have prompted me to write, although I have no memory of what caused my indignation. I did send the letter, handwritten, and never received a reply, nor was it ever published.

In the last few years, I have ramped up my “letters to the editor”, mostly in the form of emails, to either physical publications, websites or political figures. I am well on the way to becoming that crotchety old lady who will spend her retirement days writing to all and sundry, being routinely ignored. Mostly, I still receive answers, even if stock ones, because people have figured out that ignoring customers or constituents is bad business practice. But does my writing achieve anything? Or is it just a burden I lift off my shoulders, the proverbial pebble I dislodge from the shoe to then keep on walking?

There is clearly strength in numbers. The more people come together and voice the same opinion on one issue, the more likely the recipient of the criticism will cave in. I see voicing my opinion on a par with exercising the right to vote. Acquiescence and resigned acceptance are not the best friends of freedom and democracy.

I suppose there could be worse ways to spend my retirement than badgering people in power. In the meantime, waiting to hear from Mr. Cook.

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16 Comments

  1. Ben detto, in effetti siamo diventati tutti molto passivi. Non ho mai scritto a nessuno, dovrei cominciare … prima della casa di riposo? facci sapere se Tim Cook risponde 😉

    January 6, 2017
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Non hai mai scritto a nessuno?? Posso darti lezioni.

      January 6, 2017
      |Reply
      • Meglio tardi che mai

        January 6, 2017
        |Reply
  2. silvia
    silvia

    Your first letter to the editor at 17? No doubt the path was already clear for the woman you turned into. Never stop writing but I don’t need to make such a recommendation to you.

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I know – weird from the very beginning.

      January 6, 2017
      |Reply
  3. winstonmoreton
    winstonmoreton

    I am the crotchety old lady in Gizzy NZ. Often the editor will challenge my facts and even try to persuade me to vary. He cannot not publish because I would not hesitate to complain to the Press Council. After 5 years and about 200 contributions only 4 or 5 of my comments have been responded to by other readers. The theory is a response will prime my pump.

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      You give me ideas: now I must see if there is an equivalent of the Press Council.

      January 6, 2017
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  4. One of my friends says (paraphrasing) that if you do five things that all seem futile, even if four of them fail, the one that succeeds could make a very big difference in the world. So don’t stop speaking out!

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Love your friend’s perspective!

      January 6, 2017
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  5. I am all for voicing your opinion. I think it’s important not only to give help to something you believe in but also to clear your mind. Putting pen or paper or finger to keyboard can be a great release of buildng tension.

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I agree. Especially now, that my pressure starts boiling every time I read the news…

      January 6, 2017
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  6. Bravo! Yes, the power of the pen is absolutely critical when corporations in particular abandon the core values. And for the next 4 years, I expect myself to be a writing, calling fool. 😇

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      California and Colorado joining forces!

      January 6, 2017
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      • And hopefully more of the center of the country. That’s my hope, I think they’re gonna realize the error of their ways soon enough. 😉

        January 6, 2017
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  7. I don’t just like this — I love it!

    January 6, 2017
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Thank you!

      January 6, 2017
      |Reply

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