‘Peace’ – Can one word make a difference? | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Peace’ – Can one word make a difference?

Barry Ginter
Nevada Appeal Editor

The power of a message has nothing to do with its length. There is proof of that nearly every day in the Appeal in the advertisements comprised on one word, “peace,” accompanied by a peace sign.

They’re anonymous ads, and someone is paying us to print them.

Several people have been wondering who that is and why they’re doing it. Is it an anti-Iraq War message? A statement on the Middle East? A charge to political candidates?

As for the who, we’ll respect their wishes and not name them. The thinking on the part of the advertiser is that putting a name to it will cause some to view it as merely a political message. It may be controversial, and that’s not the intended purpose.

That raises an interesting point from a Carson City reader, who suggests it be labeled as a paid advertisement, lest readers think it is a campaign on the part of the newspaper itself. We normally put the words “paid advertisement” over advertising content that might look to readers like actual news stories. In this case, however, it’s not a news story. It looks like an ad.

There’s also the question of whether it opens the door for other messages, which may not be appropriate (our reader’s example was, “Nazis are great guys”). On that issue, the paper reserves the right to reject advertising, and anyone wearing a swastika would have no luck doing business with us. What about messages that aren’t that easy to label as good or bad? We’d use our judgment and reject any questionable ads.

Is the word “peace” inappropriate? No, of course not. But the word and the symbol are clearly icons of the peace movement from the ’60s, so it’s reasonable to think some readers would take offense at it, perhaps even view it as anti-Bush.

Maybe one day we’ll find out first hand from the advertiser exactly what the intent is. I talked with the person this week and will relay the thoughts behind it as best I can.

I learned that the ad, believe it or not, is a plea for peace.

That’s it.

It’s not specifically directed at the Iraq War nor any other conflict in the world.

It’s directed at all of them, but more specifically the effect they’re having on the human psyche, the general state of mind of the world.

We’re growing numb to conflict and suffering, whether it’s on the other side of the globe or in our own neighborhood, according to the advertiser.

Numb like never before in our history. So much violence and suffering to process that people no longer dwell on it at all. No one is outraged or standing up against it.

Is violence subtly becoming a greater part of our society? Are we accepting more every year and not even realizing it? If so, where does it end?

Maybe the buzz created by the ad is proving the advertiser wrong. People seem to be noticing, if not the message at least the ad itself.

I mentioned that to the advertiser, that the ads seem to have accomplished their mission.

The response: “Not even close, my friend.”

•••

So if you were to place a one-word ad, what would it be?

I was thinking about that recently when it occurred to me while watching one of those talking head news programs on cable TV. You know the type … they feature people with strong but opposite views who spit out invectives at each other as though the winner will be the person who speaks the most words in the loudest voice. So my word:

Listen.

•••

Charlie Lawson has gotten several calls from people offering their condolences following the primary. Trouble is, he actually won the Democratic primary for the District 2 seat on the Lyon County Commission. Lawson will face Republican Larry McPherson in the general election, as a story in the Appeal noted the day after the primary. The confusion stems from a list of the four candidates that also ran that day. The list had a checkmark next to McPherson’s name, who was the top vote getter, but not next to Lawson’s, whose vote total was lower than both Republicans but enough to win the Democratic primary.

As for the upcoming election, I hope everyone is enjoying the respite before the campaigning intensifies again. It won’t last long.

The Appeal has begun its preparations to help voters make wise choices on Election Day. In addition to regular coverage of the campaigns, we’ll publish a special election section on Oct. 17 where you’ll be able to compare side-by-side the candidates’ views on the important issues facing the state. And don’t forget to check out a new Web site, http://www.nevadapolitics.com, to share your views on the candidates.

Along with the League of Women Voters, we’ll also be sponsoring a candidate forum in mid-October. Details will be worked out soon.

• Barry Ginter is the editor of the Appeal. Contact him at bginter@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1221.