11.30.17 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not much of a doomsday theorist, nor do I have patience for anyone who is. I try not to use this space to whimper the blues of how dark society has become and lament the good ole days. Instead, I try to relate something from my past to today’s strifes in an effort to make sense out of them or to find a path to the next right thing. I’d much rather talk about solutions than problems. Today I am finding that difficult to do.

There are so many recent topics any given liberal could use to demonstrate how our current president is failing our society by manipulating truths. The concept of fake news is one that grates on my nerves. It’s misnamed. The problem here comes when we forget that news is news and facts are facts. Just because you don’t like a story doesn’t make it fake. Likewise, just because you wrote about your opinion, it doesn’t make it news. Perhaps opinionated news, not fake news, is a better term to use when the writer’s opinion matters more to the reader than facts. Lumping all media into the same category compounds the problem as well. There are clear options for news that employ journalists with integrity. It’s easy to find them when you read their articles, not just the headlines.

Knee-gate is another example of manipulation. Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the National Anthem to protest violence against black men and the story gets distorted by our commander in chief. He’d have you believe that Kaepernick is disrespecting our military. What is more disrespectful to our military: sacrificing your career to bring a national voice to those who have none, or the statements made by our president regarding John McCain? “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” If standing for the flag was as important as some people suddenly make it out to be then there wouldn’t be American flag napkins, bikinis and beer koozies.

Both of the above topics can get me pretty riled up, but nothing has gotten under my skin more than the blind support of Roy Moore. Moore is up for a seat in the U.S. Senate with a special election in Alabama on Dec. 12. In recent news, a woman has come forward accusing Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 14. Since then, several more accusers have come forward. Many Republican leaders have come forward to say Moore should step out of the race, but not our president. He has taken to Twitter to tell us how terrible it would be to elect a Democrat. As if electing a possible pedophile is better than electing someone of the opposite party. This is the clear tear in the moral fabric of America.

I’m not arguing the truth of the accusations. I may believe the accusers, but my opinion does not make them fact. What gets me so sick about this situation is that a large portion of those supporting him aren’t arguing the truth of the accusations either. They support him with the assumption that it might be true. One supporter used the Bible to justify the alleged rape of the minor while others echo the president’s sentiment that a positive vote on tax reform is more important than the morality of stopping an accused child molester from taking office. Should he be elected, Moore may turn me into a doomsday theorist. We should expect more from our leaders.

On a more positive note, Watermark is officially announcing the hiring of three new employees. Before this issue hits the streets, Maia Monet will join our team as the Multimedia Assistant. Following in her footsteps will be Ryan Williams-Jent, whose freelance position will go full time as Tampa Bay Bureau Chief, and Brandon Decker, who will become Watermark’s Director of Marketing.

In this issue you we hear some amazing stories of women in the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis and what compelled them to get involved. In Tampa Bay news we give you a preview to the AIDS Walk and in Orlando news you can read about the future of the Parliament House. Our Arts and Entertainment section brings you a look at the all-gay, fabulous quartet Well-Strung, as well as the Liberal Redneck who is bringing his comedy show to Orlando and Clearwater.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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