Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that I have a great admiration for Nelson Mandela. He will go down as a hero for the ages.
That being said, it is sad that there is so little going on in Joplin that today's editorial in the city's newspaper of record, the Joplin Globe, praises Nelson Mandela.
We used to call that "Afghanistanism," a peculiar thing that happens when newspapers avoid saying anything about the controversial issues that face the community because they might offend somebody or cause a major advertiser to take its business elsewhere.
At a time when we have millions and millions of dollars going through this city, when change is everywhere you look, it is vital to have a voice that speaks clearly and resolutely about the things that matter to the community.
It is also important to point out things that the community does not know.
The Turner Report is still the only media source that has addressed the incredible number of teachers, approximately 100, who were enriching the Joplin Schools in August 2012, but who will not be in Joplin classrooms in less than two months when the 2013-2014 school year begins. When about one of every six teachers is leaving the school district, an amount far more than the usual, it is a matter that needs to be addressed.
When Missouri Southern State University is about to launch a search for a new president, it might be an opportune time for a series of editorials examining the mistakes that were made when Bruce Speck was selected. History, after all, does have a tendency of repeating itself.
Sticking with education, I would certainly like to know what the Globe Editorial Board thinks of Common Core Standards, standards-based grading, and the ever-increasing amount of technology in Joplin classrooms. Strong opinion on the editorial page is the sign of a newspaper that has its finger on the pulse of the community.
Instead of praising Nelson Mandela, though he is certainly worthy of praise, how about praising lesser known people. How about praising someone who has gone above and beyond volunteering since the Joplin Tornado? How about recognizing the many unsung heroes who serve our community in various ways- police, fire department, churches, schools, businesses.
Of course, you would have to know the community in order to find these unsung heroes.
Until then, keep on singing the praises of Nelson Mandela or see if anything is going on in Afghanistan.
It is summer, which is always a time for reruns on television. Apparently, the same thing holds true with the Globe. On Thursday's page one, the Globe ran an AP article about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and legalizing gay marriage in the places where states have approved it. It was accompanied in a package at the top of the page by Roger McKinney's story, which localized it with comments from those supporting and opposing the decision, and explaining to Globe readers what LGBT means.
Today, a similar top-of-the-page package was devoted to the Senate's passage of the immigration bill, with an AP story paired with Wally Kennedy's localizing of the issue. Kennedy's story, as you might expect from the newspaper's top reporter, was more than just a by-the-numbers piece. It thoroughly explained the issue.
And Kennedy did not see the need to explain to Globe readers what a Hispanic is.