I have a bias. It is a bias that has strengthened over the years. The more experience from the school-of-hard-knocks, the more dedicated I become to my bias.
On purchase of the Tribune, I was flattered by the compliments of not having a political bias, that is to say, I did not have a Republican or Democratic bias in this editorial section. However, I am a biased person.
While the abstract idea of a perfectly unbiased journalist is appealing, such an abstraction does not exist. I am no different, and my bias is called localism.
The concept of localism has evolved over the decades in opposition to a culture that becomes more and more of a monoculture. 330 million people in the United States increasingly listen to the same music, desire the same jeans and televisions, eat the same foods, and polarize around the same few talking points.
This centralization of politics, culture, information, and food has set in motion a series of unintended consequences, from the economic collapse of 2008 to the opioid epidemic that now kills more people than car accidents. These are sweeping problems that know no borders.
When communities have problems, they often try to use government to solve those problems. When laws pass to address the first problem, this spawns unintended consequences. The cycle of problems with government solutions following unintended consequences creates a destructive cycle of problems that no one can stop despite the best efforts.
Localism is a response to the problems that come from centralization. The idea is that solutions go to the smallest size of an organization that can handle the problem with efficacy. In simpler terms, empower people to find solutions to their own problems through trial and error.
The battle between the problems of centralization and localism was laid bare on every page of a recent book I finished, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.” by Sam Quinones.
In his search to understand how Black Tar Heroin became a nationwide problem, Quinones discovers that a small community in Mexico that operates heroin sales like a multinational corporation and delivers Heroin like pizza, mixed with the legal crusade of pain pill manufacturers to sell as much addictive medication as possible, while claiming that “science” proved it was not addictive.
The only solutions that Quinones finds during his travels is bands of communities that started working together by forming rehab jails, investing in new businesses that create jobs, and making addiction a subject that can be talked about freely.
It has been communities, not government or corporations, that have made a meaningful step towards fighting the problem.
This is an extreme example, but it highlights the difference between actions and legislation. Localism at its core is people acting, not talking.
I see examples of action every week in this community. Builders are addressing the affordable housing problem. Foresters are addressing fire mitigation. Farmers are addressing better food. Former doctors are addressing prevention. Businesses are addressing prosperity. Employers are handing jobs.
This is my bias at the Tribune. I am biased towards the people of this Valley. Telling the stories of those that are out there taking action. Some fall, they learn, and pick themselves back up again. These teams learn of the opportunities that exist in this area, that are unique to the Valley, and they exploit them. The more people that take action, the more robust and the better off our community becomes.
Localism is a bias with which I am comfortable.
– Jordan Hedberg