Too big for us - Shawn's Sense with Shawn Loughlin
For those of you who read the editorials in this fine newspaper, you may think that sometimes it feels like something’s missing, depending on who you are and how you think. There’s often a reason for that.
First, a quick tutorial on the editorials because sometimes I think there might be some confusion out there (which often results in angry letters to me). Editorials are a group effort. The Citizen’s Editorial Board, which includes myself, Scott and Deb, meets weekly to discuss the issues of the day. We decide on three (usually with the goal of one local topic, one provincial or federal topic and one international topic - though not always) and each write one. And while an independent author’s initials appear at the end of their contribution for the week, a stance on the topic is agreed upon by all three of us and then, once written, the editorials are reviewed by all three members of the board, to ensure each author landed the plane on their topic of the week and that we all agree on what’s being said.
So, for example, when I wrote an editorial about the bigotry of a few hockey players in regards to Pride celebrations, all of your letters - lovely as they were - should have come to all of us, not just me. Writing letters just to me was wrong of you. I want you to know that and once you know, I want you to know that I know that you know. There. We all know now.
On this page, however, are columns written by three different people, often tackling three different topics in three very different ways. On this page, if you have a beef with someone saying something, blaming the author is the right thing to do. I want you to know that, etc.
Back to the editorials. More often than not, we tend to formulate an opinion on issues that are a little out of left field; perhaps something you might not have known about before reading the editorial. The world is full of editorial writers, talking heads and others pontificating and opining... and this is where we arrive at the case of the missing editorials.
At a recent meeting of the board, we spoke about how so much of the news of the world these days feels ubiquitous. It’s always there, it’s always important and it’s always ongoing.
The war in Ukraine. Unrest in the Middle East. The never-ending, always-worsening situation in which Justin Trudeau finds himself (or created for himself, depending on the issue of the day). A racist, criminal and fraudster... who may just be the next President of the U.S. Galen Weston: Canadian super villain. The hellhole that is Alberta. Doug Ford’s crooked-as-all-get-out government. The housing crisis. These are all issues that are here, they persevere and they’re not going away. (Sorry for the redundancy, but sticking the rhyme was more important than not repeating myself.)
And so, there is only so much you can say on issues such as these without regurgitating the words of someone smarter than you, or really just recounting the facts because there isn’t anything intelligent to say.
So, when you read an editorial about the great Joni Mitchell or a local restaurant or Lily Gladstone, it’s not because we think those are necessarily more important or impactful than the death and destruction in the Middle East or our rapidly-eroding democracy or the climate crisis and children fearing for the future, it’s just that, well, what is there left to say?
So, we’re not ignoring those larger-than-life issues, pretending they’re not happening in hopes that they’ll just go away (O.K. we are doing that for Trump) we’re simply admitting that we’re not qualified to add anything to the conversation and leaving it to the experts.