This space has fallen victim to hiatus, inconsistency and neglect in the past, but only rarely as long as the recent past. Other than a re-run posted Wednesday, I have not written anything new for the 25 Year Plan in more than two weeks. A friend noted last week that, judging from my dearth of creativity, I must be very busy. And in fact I am, but there have been moments where, although tight, time is available. Further, when sufficiently inspired (i.e. pissed off), I’ll make the time. Such was the case recently. I was outraged about a unilateral policy implementation at a local mall. This is not the first time this particular mall has drawn my ire, but it is the first time I have chosen to invoke the power of the press to do something about it.
It was refreshing to put on my journalistic hat again. Although I am working on a Master’s degree in communication studies with an emphasis on rhetorical criticism, I am still a journalist. I ask questions, verify information and report it. When it comes to column writing, I get the added pleasure of saying what I think it all means and what I think about that. But it’s still journalism; opinion in this case is actually a misnomer. I am making an argument, backed up with evidence, such that a reasonable person can see where I’m coming from. One might not agree with my conclusion, but my argument is sound. It is far more than just my “opinion.”
I did some research and interviewed some people – some of whom did not like what I was asking. The conclusion I drew was, generally speaking, that there are some who will make a little power go a long way. This particular mall has a manager who can’t see beyond her blinders and has instituted a policy that unfairly restricts mall access to a specific group. Based not on what mall management told me, but on what all other evidence shows, this mall is profiling, although mall management absolutely denies it. Its policy is unique among all other area malls and provisions that the manager insisted are in place to mitigate the effect or impression of profiling (my words, she never admitted to profiling in the first place) could not be substantiated – at all. Management was lying to cover its collective ass.
Since doing the footwork a week ago, it appears as though the mall has stopped enforcing its policy. Other sources tell me that those mythical provisions are being instituted. Perhaps they are worried what I will write? Where it might be published? Am I serious? They should be, locally, and yes, I am. So where is this wonderful column? It is being considered for publication and as such, it cannot appear anywhere else – including here. It will eventually, but for the time being it has to remain it under wraps. The power of the press has already trumped that of mall management, but it’s not over yet. People need to know and I’m going to tell them. Then they can decide if my “opinion” is valid.