Dear Hope Nation,
When I was a boy, or slightly before, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president throughout the Great Depression and most of World War II. From 1933 to 1945, FDR made a series of about 30 Fireside Chats, delivered by radio from the White House to Americans, giving him a chance to uplift, explain and unite the country. Roosevelt’s style, conversational but informed, was meant to summon images of three or four friends gathered around a fireside. Roosevelt was a visionary, using the relatively new medium to communicate to vast swaths of people who would not necessarily have read a position paper, nor even the news in their daily newspaper. Franklin Roosevelt was a genius.
Keith Howard is a pompous clown, but not above stealing a good idea and making it my own. For four months, from March until July, Hope sent out daily “Dear Hope Nation” letters—like this one–designed to uplift, explain and unite Hope’s membership, staff, board and other interested folks. These letters got a fairly large and positive response, which was gratifying for all involved. Still, and as a former reading specialist and voracious reader it pains me to say this, reading as an activity is in a steady decline. A very scientific poll of eight or 10 people I’ve talked with over the past couple days has determined a lot of people spend more time watching online videos than reading text of any kind.
Stuck as I am in the middle of the last century, I had no idea people clicked on videos simply to watch them. My limited experience with online video has been limited to looking at a YouTube video on how to restart my furnace or clicking on a link from my friend, Anthony, to watch his “Mr. all Natural” YouTube cooking videos. Other than that, my video experience is almost nil. Really. I know it sounds ridiculous, but video never killed my radio heart. I’d much rather read or listen than watch screens of any kind.
I know I’m not everybody (and let us thank God for that), nor am I even representative of a significant minority. Like the person who eschews brownies, avoids cut flowers or doesn’t care for the Beatles, I am on a very small and sparsely populated island of non video consumers. We may be odd, but I’m not stupid. Hence, some news from Hope that may (or very well may not) interest or even excite some citizens of Hope Nation.
Beginning now, many of these Dear Hope Nation letters will be shared on Hope’s YouTube page. As I write this, things are still in the works, so these videos may be called “(un)Lofty Thoughts from Keith’s Loft,” because I live in a cabin and my office/bedroom is in the loft. It may also be called “Proof Aliens Invented the Berenstain Bears,” because that might well get the number of hits up. It may also be called “Dear Hope Nation (video edition)” because, well, that’s what it will be. If you’ve got better (or if it’s possible, worse) ideas, please send or text them to me.
If you’re watching this as a video—Hi there (gives wave to camera). If you reading this, please never forget that
You matter. I matter. We matter.
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