From The Editors
Hurricanes, Glenn Beck, and The Global Futures Summit IV. Welcome to the new issue of the Erie Reader.
As we sit in our office putting the finishing touches on our latest issue, Hurricane Sandy is barreling down on the east coast. Signs indicate the storm won't subside anytime soon and the worst -- what will happen in the coming hours and days, things that will happen in the time between this issue goes to press and you pick it up Wednesday -- still lie ahead of us. And no doubt, the coming hours, days, and even months will be present challenges that we must collectively overcome.
As we occasionally gazed out the window to watch the rainfall quicken and the winds whip in all directions, we can't help but stare at our computer screens too. Aside from the writing, editing, revising, and laying out of the paper stealing most of our time and attention, we all can't help but notice the trends unfolding on social media. While a few naysayers slip into the conversation here and there, most posts to Facebook and Twitter right now voice genuine concern for those about to be affected the most by the impending storm.
That concern and care seems to know no bounds. Conservatives and liberals alike are offering support, be it in thoughts and prayers or other means. It also seems that that concern knows no creed, race, or socioeconomic status either. Together, humans are setting differences aside to offer each other bona fide love and support in times of need, which gives us hope that we can still work through difficult times together -- much like what Glenn Beck told a packed room in at the Ambassador Center in Erie Saturday, Oct. 27.
Sure, we've gotten the rap before as being mostly liberal around these parts, and although many of those involved in the Reader's day-to-day happenings lean left, we continue to make it a priority to share all sides of stories and focus on the positive aspects of our city. Which is why several of us attended Beck's speech at the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation's faces2012 National Conference. And truth be told, not a single one of us was disappointed that we did.
Beck took to the stage and opened with a passage from H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds" -- the same passage Orson Welles read over the radio in 1938. The passage explores the notion of humanity joining together against a common invader to collectively triumph against an enemy. That enemy, that invader -- Beck said -- is already here, and that enemy is cancer. And true to John Kanzius's words, "cancer does not discriminate," Beck reminded the audience that both conservatives and liberals suffer from this disease, as well as the rich and poor, as well people from all creeds and races.
But there were naysayers. Three of them.
Three people gathered outside the conference center to protest Beck's arrival and support of the Foundation, and while the number seems small, it wasn't reflective of a larger concerned voiced prior to the conference. People worried that Beck's connection to the Foundation may affect it negatively given his polarizing views. And Beck knew this. And he acknowledged. And he made sense of it. He did so in an exclusive Q&A with Rebecca Styn prior to the conference, which you'll find in this issue.
Whether you agree with Beck's political and worldviews, read Styn and Beck's conversation to at least hear him out. After all, Aristotle once said that "it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it," and that can apply to our differences when it comes to political opinions.
And while politics may challenge our friendships, the words of Thomas Jefferson may help: "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend," which is why we're excited to present this issue's feature story of the Jefferson Educational Society's Global Futures Summit IV -- a 72-hour event featuring speakers spanning the political gamut. Do many of us here agree with Karl Rove's ideas and principles? No. But does that mean we can't respect his intelligence and effect on modern politics? Absolutely not -- which is why we're appreciative and thankful that we, along with the rest of Erie, have the chance to hear from him along with a cast of other great thinkers.
So let's put aside our differences for a moment, entertain those thoughts of others, and expand our views by deepening our awareness and knowledge by fostering open discussion with each other. Besides, come Wednesday, Nov. 7, a considerable percent of the population will be disappointed in the prior day's happenings, but that doesn't mean they're less American or un-American -- it means they're still our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who want what's best for our country, and if we continue to share and embrace ideas from all perspectives, we can work together for that bright future that lies ahead rather than remaining in a house divided and crumbling.