Thursday, September 20, 2012
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. ~~Edward Bulwer Lytton
We underestimate how very important our capability to communicate by writing is. Would the Arab Spring have succeeded so spectacularly without Twitter and Facebook? What would modern life be like without texting?
Yet, I fear we are losing something even as we move forward. What do we gain if we don't read the written word?
In this election year, the majority of voters are still relying on sound bytes and media coverage for information. On Constitution Day, I posed the question, "When is the last time you read our Constitution?" There were no takers. The pen is only as strong as our willingness to read what is written.
In the pre-electronic era, all information was attained by reading. Pamphlets and newspapers spread the differing political views. The public was completely aware that each pamphlet or newspaper reflected the views of the owners or publishers. But in our day of corporate owned media, we've forgotten that crucial fact. It isn't the media's job to inform us. That's our responsibility. True un-biased information can only be obtained by doing personal research...and reading!
Prior to the written word, humanity depended on word of mouth. The keepers of oral history were charged with an accurate accounting of events. Still we've ended up with a long-term version of that old childhood game of telephone.
The written word allowed for succeeding generations to read for themselves the deeds and events of the past--and record the contemporary events for the future. Will those efforts be in vain?
In January I wrote about the importance of the President signing the most recent version of the Homeland Security bill, about how this version in effect negated the rights listed in our Constitution. I cannot tell you how many people protested there was nothing to worry about because if there was, it would be on the news!
Our pens will have no power if there is no one to read our words. Read.