Patriotism. Responsibility. Self-governance.
Welcome to Civics 101, sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle and Morris Communications.
This week Morris Communications hosted a “patriotic rally” to promote its initiative ROAR: Renaissance of American Responsibility, which is the brainchild of the Chronicle’s editorial page editor Michael Ryan.
“It’s not about politics at all. It’s about civics,” Ryan recently told the Chronicle. “Our desire is to get people excited about civics and self-governance.”
This is apparently an initiative that Ryan felt extremely passionate about considering he temporarily stepped away from heading the newspaper’s editorial page for almost an entire year to encourage citizens to “stand up for America.”
Earlier this year, the Insider poked some fun at Ryan and his initiative, comparing Morris Communications’ ROAR to singer Helen Reddy’s song, “I Am Woman,” which quickly became the enduring anthem for the women’s liberation movement in the early 1970s.
Ryan was less than thrilled with the comparison.
When Ryan first announced that he was the new executive director of ROAR earlier this year, he insisted that Morris Communications was a national multimedia company that has a “love of this country and its timeless values of liberty and responsibility.”
“Our goal is to preserve and renew the endangered system of American self-governance by helping create more informed and involved citizens — new generations of Americans who understand and appreciate our precious and rare birthright of freedom,” Ryan wrote in a January column. “In short, we want to help create a renaissance of responsibility in America.”
Over the past several months, Morris Communications — a historically conservative media company — has designed a new website called roar.us that says it was “built around this nation’s foundational principles of free markets, individual liberty, responsibility, property rights, limited government and civic involvement.”
But one must stop and ask: Why is Morris Communications really doing this?
The company claims it out to save the youth of America.
“ROAR is a multimedia project of Morris Communications to inspire Americans, particularly youths, to understand and appreciate the beauty — and fragility — of our system of self-governance, so unique in human history,” Ryan wrote. “We’ve been handed a wonderful, but delicate gift — the rare gift of self-governance.
We need to take good care of it.”
The public has been handed something all right and, let’s just say, it smells a little funny.
Call the Insider a cynic, but the ROAR initiative seems more like a way to try and gain a national audience in order to sell additional online advertisement than a new “civics initiative.”
It is a business move, pure and simple.
A media promotion disguised as patriotism.
Ryan claims it is not political, but Morris Communications is staunchly proud of its conservative reputation across the nation.
Now, they are all of a sudden going to shy away from it?
Morris Communications is trying to reach out to conservatives and the right-wing media in order to get as much attention as possible.
Because more attention equates to more dollars.
If Ryan can convince enough people in this country he is serious about this movement, the next thing you know he will be sitting across from Sean Hannity being interviewed on Fox News.
That kind of attention could drive millions of people to the website each month.
That many eyeballs on a website can spell big dollars for Morris Communications down the road.
Ryan and Morris just need to sell the idea as hard as they can.
So, what better way than a nationwide movement that believes in freedom, personal responsibility, self reliance, old-fashioned compassion and brotherhood?
All of a sudden, ROAR sounds better than a bald eagle perched on the Liberty Bell eating a huge slice of steaming apple pie.
Heck, Ryan has even already created a book guiding ROAR enthusiasts on how they can turn this country around.
For a mere $5, people can purchase his personal self-help book called, “225 Ways You Can Save America.”
“Saving America is like the weather: Everyone talks about it, but who actually does anything about it?” Ryan writes on his personal webpage, michaelryanbooks.com, which is conveniently linked to ROAR’s website. “Well, you can. For the first time, here is a pocket-sized, all-inclusive ‘To Do’ list for America: an easy-to-read, practical handbook for what ordinary Americans can do to save this most extraordinary nation from financial and moral oblivion.”
Ryan describes it as “the first self-help book for an entire nation.”
Wow. That’s a bold statement.
“As ‘225 Ways You Can Save America’ illustrates, we are a nation of individuals — and only motivated and focused individuals can save it. That means working on you first, but thinking of others foremost,” Ryan writes. “‘225 Ways You Can Save America’ doesn’t just call for an American renaissance — it lights the way, with specific tasks and straightforward revelations that will renew your optimism and restore your belief in the power of hands-on citizenship.”
Man, for just $5, you can turn this country around. What a bargain.
“Let’s not just talk about saving America. Let’s do it,” Ryan writes. “One step at a time.”
Holy cow, that’s better than an OxiClean advertisement.
Thank you, Michael Ryan, for showing us all the way. What would we do without you.