The ‘scrubbing bubbles’ of democracy

If you are of a certain age, you’ll remember the “scrubbing bubbles” TV commercial, with the bubble-shaped scrub brushes that worked magic on nasty bathroom grime. If you don’t remember it, here’s the link: (Gotta love YouTube.) Also, if you are of a certain age, you remember being thoroughly disappointed when you, as a young adult, bought said cleaner only to find out animated scrubbing bubbles didn’t self-clean your bathroom.

I was talking to a friend last week about how we keep saying our tagline should be, “We go to meetings so you don’t have to.” She messaged me a few hours later and said she kept hearing that in the voice of a scrubbing bubble and shared the link. I shared that with Caitlin, who replied, “We are the scrubbing bubbles of democracy.” She’s right.

This week Rocky Mountain PBS is airing “News Matters,” a documentary about the state of journalism in the U.S., and particularly about local newspapers.

“Where do you go for information when you don’t have a newspaper?”

The answer isn’t pretty.

“Democracy dies in darkness, and when the lights go out, we all suffer.”

“There is no democracy without a free and independent press. There never has been and there never will be.”

As Thomas Jefferson said, “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

How do people become inattentive to public affairs? By not A) attending public meetings of boards and councils and committees B) by not reading or hearing about said meetings in their local newspaper.

I’ve been involved on one level or another in the newspaper business since I was a kid. Trust me when I say the presence of a newspaper in a community is incredibly easy to take for granted. The absence of a newspaper in a community is a loss on multiple levels, and those who would like to see that happen have nefarious intentions.


1 Comment

  1. Interesting article. However, America was NEVER meant to be a democracy, i.e. a mob rule, country! When those who have no idea, and don’t want to know, what others are doing dictate what can and can’t be done the country is in trouble! A democracy is nothing more than socialism in disguise! When a large group of people get to decide what is best for everyone, against the will of those that oppose ‘what is best’ for others the rights of the few are violated by the will of the many!

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