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Journalists are not the enemy

Hang on to your hats, folks. I’m about to get political up in here.

Again.

The older I get, the less I’m willing to hold my tongue—and when a Cheet-O-headed blowhard known for abusing and insulting women and minorities declares me an “enemy of the people,” I get more than a little testy.

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-4-14-04-pmThis week, the Washington Post unveiled a new slogan, front and center on its website: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” (Stephen Colbert joked that rejected slogans included “We took down Nixon—who wants next?” And THAT was one of the high points of the week that was.)

Journalists, of which I’ve been one since the early- to mid-90s, are not enemies of the people. Journalists, at least the ones working in the many community newsrooms around the country, are hard-working men and women who try their hardest to bring readers the stories that matter.

We don’t sit around plotting to take down the mayor or congressman. But if we hear a rumor said mayor or congressman is taking bribes to expedite construction of a massive industrial park, you bet your butt we won’t stop until we suss out the truth. If the rumor can be substantiated, we let everyone know.

We talk to people—real people—who live in the community, about the things that matter to them. We then share their stories. We talk to grieving widows and parents who’ve lost their children to terrible diseases. To school and city officials with exciting new initiatives to tout. To student-athletes who’ve just won a state championship or who are on their way to the College World Series.

We talk to good samaritans who pay vet bills after a tragic accident, and to overjoyed parents who, with community support, raise enough money to finally obtain a service dog for their child.

We care about accuracy. If someone tells us we’ve made an error, we correct it as soon as possible—but we try not to make errors in the first place. No one likes to tell the boss “I need a correction.”

Like many Americans, we’re overworked and underpaid, expected to keep doing more and more with less. (Which can contribute to the mistakes we do make.) We work long hours without (much) complaining, and we try always to do our best. Sound familiar?

We’re not enemies of the people. We’re just people. Plain and simple.

We’re parents raising young children, worried about making sure they become productive members of society. Or we’re parents with children grown and on their own, hoping they make smart decisions and watching them thrive. Some of us are single; others are engaged and planning big, romantic weddings.

We try to eat right, get enough sleep and find our exercise soul mates. We gain and lose weight; we overindulge at our favorite restaurants; we accidentally end up wasting money on terrible movies. Just like most Americans.

No, the real enemy of the people is the man sitting in the White House right now. You know, the one trying his damnedest to dismantle the country, piece by piece, with his executive orders and know-little cabinet picks. He doesn’t care about people—unless they can be of use to him somehow. Every time he opens his mouth, another insult or lie spews out.

And as I was writing this post, news broke that certain members of the press corps were excluded from a White House press gaggle, prompting others to boycott.

This is dangerous stuff, folks. Freedom of the press is part of the First Amendment. FIRST, not last.

#NotTheEnemy

You learn something new every day

Today I learned, among other things, I’m not very creative when trying to write between 6 and 10 p.m.

Here I sit at a new Starbucks, somewhere in the blob that it is Phoenix, while the Boyfriend is off playing tennis. I have a few hours of uninterrupted time — and have I written anything? Nope. I’ve spent too many precious minutes catching up on emails, tweets and Facebook.

New StarbucksGuess it’s a good thing I don’t get paid to be creative at this time of night. Between 6 and 10 p.m. is when I’m deep in the throes of putting together the next morning’s newspaper. That’s probably why I’m having trouble.

I haven’t been completely unproductive. I did write a post for my writing blog. I’ve also been exploring my author website, arlenehittle.com. It’s still under construction, but I love what Larissa has done with it so far.

And now I’m blogging here.

That counts for something, right?

Other things I’ve learned lately:

— Phoenix has about ten jillion movie theaters.

Sadly, none of the ones near the tennis center were playing “Girl Most Likely.” What is up with a 30-screen theater only showing about 12 different movies? You’d think with 30 freakin’ screens, they could have a wider variety.

Must be like cable TV: 200 channels and STILL nothing on.

The Boyfriend and I ended up seeing “The Way, Way Back” instead. As the one who puts together the movie section for the paper, I’d read a little about it; he went in blind. I told him we could always sneak into “Grown Ups 2” if it really sucked … At least I was going to tell him that until I got wrapped up in the story. It took all of five minutes.

It ended up being a great little movie — but I had no idea Steve Carrell was in it. So was Toni Collette, Allison Janney and Amanda Peet. Lots of faces I recognized.

— Coke Zero is far superior to Diet Coke.

When those two are the only choices in the fountain, Coke Zero is the way to go. I’d still rather have Diet Dr Pepper than either one, though.

— Starbucks closes at 10 p.m.

It’s 9:23 now, and still no sign of my ride. Not looking forward to sitting outside in the still-90+-degree heat. Why is it still nearly 100 degrees after dark? Thought desert temperatures were supposed to drop quickly once the sun drops below the horizon.

Mango-Orange Smoothie— When I don’t eat a proper meal, I nibble. A lot.

Okay, that should be old news. Hope the Boyfriend arrives armed with dinner.

On the plus side, I discovered Starbucks’ mango-orange smoothie is pretty darn tasty. I grabbed one at about 8 p.m. when I remembered I was supposed to tweet a photo of my smoothie for Colourful Palate’s August #colourfulsmoothie challenge.

I read someone post about the challenge on Twitter and decided it sounded right up my alley. I like smoothies; I don’t have much time to cook. If I can win prizes for such lax kitchen habits, all the better.

Being away from my kitchen — and even the Boyfriend’s — I took some help from the Bux. It qualifies, right? It is colorful (read: not brown, like my fave Starbucks chocolate-banana smoothie).

— I’m going to have trouble typing #coloUrfulsmoothie.

Every. Damn. Time.

Ah well. Doesn’t training your brain prevent Alzheimer’s?