That phrase comprised the title of a book by Martin Luther King, Jr. published in 1967, not long before his assassination, in response to inequality and injustice that continued to prevail even after the passage of historic Civil Rights legislation. It almost seems a sacrilege to employ the phrase in the service of a virtual fireside where fans come to chat about football. Nevertheless, after my initial stunned silence about John Morgan's departure faded, that phrase kept coming back to me.
So, here's the thing. Field Gulls is more an interest group than a community in the strictest sense, but interest groups are communities in microcosm. They operate like communities on a smaller scale. If you have to point to one thing that binds people together in community it is conversation. That most mundane practice of engaging each other is the connective tissue that holds otherwise unrelated people together. Community is not built solely through the kinds of grand scale actions we are seeing take place right now in the Middle East. The everyday, the mundane, the routine engagements we have with each other are no less important. That most mundane thing--conversation--is what makes Field Gulls such a special place. So much of contemporary culture encourages "diarrhea of the mouth (or keyboard)" but systematically discourages conversation.
The point of this post is neither to canonize or eulogize John Morgan. I wish him the best of whatever the future holds for him, as I am sure you do. Rather, the point is to express my hope that Field Gulls will continue down the path that all the editors, writers, moderators, and participants here have helped to blaze. Through example and sometimes enforcement, John and our awesome moderators have established what we value about conversation at Field Gulls. Those values, at least as I see them, are pretty simple.
1. Field Gulls values insight over rantings (even if the two are not mutually exclusive).
2. Field Gulls values supported opinions but does not make a fetish of statistics.
3. Field Gulls values passion, even encourages it. But, your passion does not give you moral standing.
If we are going to continue to have a community here--even one in microcosm--let's all try to keep these values at the forefront.