When Robert Gibbs castigated the “professional left” – and when Rahm Emanuel used a far more offensive term to describe liberal administration critics – I proudly identified our little band of renegades at Truthout as among their targets. We have not “moved on” from demanding justice against war criminals and banksters, and for whistleblowers and the dispossessed. We continue to assert that the “war on terror” is forever lost if our civil liberties as US citizens and residents remain collateral damage. We maintain an obviously retrograde belief that “democracy” means that a government formulates policy sensitive to the opinion of its populace, not a system of opaque elections, rigged by monied interests in advance and susceptible to tampering during and after the fact.
Truly left behind by the mainstream culture, we believe that society – pronounced defunct by Margaret Thatcher in 1987 – is human beings' essential medium, and that its character is the major determinant of our individual and collective well-being. Throw-backs to another era, we believe that the character of a society depends on how it treats its most vulnerable members: children, elders, the poor, minorities, the “stranger.” Like pioneers, we want to raise one another's barns, our consciousness, our voices to shelter and protect those who can't buy politicians to do so.
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We still accept many “quaint” notions as true and valid: that torture is absolutely wrong under all circumstances, and that being rich and/or powerful should not provide immunity from justice or criticism. We still hold strongly that we must arrest climate change; switch energy, transportation, and food production technologies; create jobs for those who want to work, provide healthcare for all; stop the toxic chemical and radiation poisoning of our air, soils, water and bodies; educate ourselves to be citizens, not consumers; beat our tanks and aircraft carriers and planes and drones and Humvees into ploughshares; pursue justice; restore the commons; delight in the works of our artists and artisans, our intellectuals and our neighbors; live in dignity and peace.
We have not moved on from those antique ideals at Truthout: each day we try to simultaneously destroy the simulacrum of reality our in-denial media and organs of power work so hard to maintain for us and suggest how, concretely, another world is possible.
Every day I review submissions from fellow citizens, fellow renegades – some are professional writers, but most are other citizens who share our values and our dreams. And it is humbling and exhilarating to spend every day in such company.
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Literary Editor, Truthout