Every American has been affected by world events: The wars. The economy. The politics.
One of the many effects is an environment where civil discussions have been replaced by openly angry sentiments.
About a month ago, the Beacon Journal asked for volunteers to participate in our yearlong exploration — America Today — about the driving issues behind all of the tension.
There were about 300 online comments, particularly on reporter and critic Rich Heldenfels’ take on the disrespect we show one another on television, radio and in common conversation. Another 100 responded with emails or letters saying they wanted to express their thoughts or emotions directly to reporters.
One resident said that when she moved out of the country for work, she was told by friends that she would develop a deeper understanding of America. Indeed she did. She said she is embarrassed.
A businessman in Akron expressed angry feelings about unions, Democrats and President Barack Obama. “Is Obama a communist — Really I want to know, he quacks like a duck?”
Each person has a unique story. Each has a thought on how to fix things. And many have an idea of who or what is to blame.
Ultimately, no two are entirely alike.
The goal of the America Today project is to illustrate how those diverse experiences are complicating the ability to get along in politics, the media, among friends and family.
First up in this project is housing. We’ve begun work on personal income and retirement. Later we’ll look at student loans, war and more.
One thing is clear in the first set of interviews: The Great Recession has had a profound effect on our lives in ways that many of us haven’t considered.
Think about that for a moment. If we don’t fully comprehend the many ways our own lives have been affected, is it possible for us to understand the feelings and experiences of others?
The thought is that we can set Akron apart from the angry dialogue in the country, so that in 2012 we create a new way to respectfully air our differences.
Contributing to this story were staff writers Dave Scott and Kim Hone-McMahan and managing editor Doug Oplinger. Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Kim Hone-McMahan can be reached at 330-996-3742 or email@example.com
For the first time since the Great Depression, home values on average have declined. How has this affected your short-term plans, and what are your thoughts about the future of homeownership in general?
Below are two opportunities to answer those questions or comment on this story. You may join the Civic Commons conversation, which requires your name and is built to enable dialogue with other members of your community, or you can respond on Ohio.com’s comment board, which provides for anonymity.