Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arming the Positive Side of the Debate

It's human nature. Most people, though some more than others, like to debate.

All too often, though, the negative side wins out.

When I worked in economic development in Steubenville, Ohio, that fact was never more true than when it came to the topic of the downtown.

The coffee shops were full of debates about how things used to be and the good old days. Today, the blogs are the e-version of coffee shops.

Different venues. Same issues.

In the photo [Noted: since deleted], the building fourth from left used to be a McCrory's store. At its peak, the store employed a couple dozen people but only the manager made a real living and the tax impact was near nil. In the mid 1990's, I helped to bring a call center there that, at its peak, employed over 300 people with many of those having health insurance and 401(k)'s. How, I argued, could anyone favor the McCrory's days to the Reese Brothers' days?

That's one example of the positive side.

In Steubenville, I wrote newspaper op-eds, went on the radio talk shows, and sparked local television stories to push out some positive story. I was a self-appointed community cheerleader, trying to be a positive force.

My only purpose was to arm the positive side of the debate happening in the cofffee shops. I made it my job to give a little more ammuntion to the people inclined to debate the naysayers and the life-was-better-when'ers.

Today, the same thing can be done with blogs and newspaper forums.

Let's keep arming the positive side of the debate.

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