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August 8, 2020

Thank you, Elizabeth Cook, for guiding us along this journey

Author

Jason Walser is executive director of the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation.

By Jason Walser

Special to the Salisbury Post

Time marches on.

Computers replace word processors, such as the one I took to college in 1990. The 3 and 1/2-inch cartridges replace 5 and 1/4-inch floppy drives, such as those I used in 1992. “Windows” makes the DOS I used in 1993 look ridiculous.

Facebook made my MySpace account completely irrelevant in the early 2000s.

My iPhone brings back great memories as I “Google” facts about the days when my cellular “flip phone” met all of my needs.

So here we are.

Reddit” and other social media platforms make us all wonder what the future looks like for the Salisbury Post.

And now Elizabeth Cook is retiring.

I worry about the day when I can no longer pick up the local newspaper and learn about world affairs, while also learning about how the rain has impacted the soybean crop in Rowan County.

Or which youth have received scholarships to great colleges across our state and country.

I suspect that day is coming soon enough, but for now, I want to say thank you to Mrs. Cook for guiding us all along this journey.

What a remarkable moment in time.

Information is exchanged instantaneously. But the newspaper in my driveway every morning meant more to me than a ding on my phone.

Thank goodness that many continue to invest their advertising dollars with the Salisbury Post, so that I could continue to read a newspaper in my den every morning for the past twenty years.

I cannot imagine the person that I might be had I not been reading the Salisbury Post every day for the past two decades. Whether Cal Thomas or Leonard Pitts; Bruce LaRue or Geoffrey Hoy; Whitey Harwood or Clyde.

I am a better person for having read the Salisbury Post under the leadership of Elizabeth Cook as the editor all these days. She helped expose me — and many others in our community — to many different viewpoints.

And for that we should all be grateful.

I have seen several people begin their comments to the Post over the years with, “while I don’t agree with you” on such and such a subject, “I feel…”

Hogwash.

It should not be about us individually.

It should be about us collectively.

Kudos to the Salisbury Post, and Elizabeth Cook, for challenging us all. If we all agreed with our local paper’s editorial board, then we would be a homogenous culture. And that would not help any of us grow intellectually.

We share fewer and fewer things together as a society.

Not skin color or language or values or history.

But that is not a bad thing! In fact, it may be our greatest strength!

What we do share together is this physical space.

And you have brought this reality “home,” Mrs. Cook.

Thank you.

I hope that as you prepare to retire, you will appreciate that you have helped to bring us all together around those things we do collectively care about.

Education. Health Care. National softball championships. Fishing. High School football and basketball and baseball and tennis and track and volleyball. Parks. Economic development. The environment. Historic preservation. Human relations. Transportation. Vacation Bible School. Crops. Etc., etc.

You have weighed in on all of these subjects, and many others. And you have also featured other editorialists who have done the same.

Thank you for helping us all become better informed citizens, Elizabeth Cook. You have certainly left your mark in a time of rapid change, and I hope that you know that on this Thanksgiving, most of us are thankful for your service and guidance during this remarkable chapter in our history.

Jason Walser is executive director of the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation.

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