Sociologist Putnam brings attention to the plight of Port Clinton and the country Featured

On July 10 Port Clinton High graduate (class of 1959, member of the Port Clinton Academic Hall of Fame, sociologist, Harvard professor and author Robert Putnam was awarded the National Medal of Honor at ceremonies in Washington, DC. Among his fellow honorees were filmmaker George Lucas and Sports writer Frank DeFord. 

On August 3 Putnam’s article entitled “Crumbling American Dreams” appeared in the New York Times Opinionator. The article has gone viral, especially in Ottawa County, and is spurring a national debate on issues of substance. Using the example of Port Clinton, Putnam details the decline of a sense of community and its results. His landmark book “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community”, written in 2001 and featuring Port Clinton’s Star Lanes, began the discussion that is continued in the Aug. 3 article.

Just as in the election of 2012, residents of Port Clinton and Ottawa County find themselves at the center of a national debate. The community has been presented an opportunity to use this visibility to be a part of the complex discussion and innovative changes that will be required. 

“Don’t Give up the Ship” flags that are flying around the area in honor of the bicentennial of Perry’s Victory in the War of 1812 speak to the spirit of resilience and motivation that can help right the ship of the city, state and nation.

 Putnam’s article is available at

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