As one ten-year anniversary slowly recedes in our collective rear-view mirror, it behooves me to make strong note of another. I don't know what brought you to Truthout – 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the WMD lies, the fake terror alerts, the exposure of Abu Ghraib and our profligate use of torture, the fact of our domestic surveillance of ourselves, the elections, the financial crisis, the lies
compounded by lies, or the fact that the “mainstream” media
is so full of shit you can smell them around the corner – but here you are, and thank you for it.
We at Truthout are celebrating our first ten years this week. I've been thinking a lot about what it was that got us started in the first place. I'm sure you remember the beginning of 2001, that winter of discontent after the awesome fraud of the 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision. What I remember most, aside from the seething outrage of it all, was the soothing nonsense pouring forth from the “mainstream” news. On Inauguration Day, I heard the CNN anchors say at least a dozen times, “This is an orderly transition of power…this is an orderly transition of power…” In other words, shhhhh, be hush, nothing to see here.
Most of the time, history is created by a confluence of disparate events, but not this time. For us, for America, and for the world, the Supreme Court decision handed down on December 12, 2000, is carved for all time into the annals of infamy. Everything that happened afterward – Bush’s surplus-busting tax cuts for rich people that set the stage for our current economic calamity, the September 11 attacks that could have and should have been prevented, the invasion of Afghanistan, the PATRIOT ACT, the Homeland Security Act, the WMD lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, the NSA spying scandal, and the generalized attacks on the basic Constitutional underpinnings of American law – came to be because of that decision, as if it were already written in stone.
Our purpose was established during that wretched time. We refused to go along, refused to believe in the placating lies, and dedicated ourselves then and there to reporting the real news, the facts, the truth which those “mainstream” organizations are so well-paid to obfuscate and conceal. In the intervening years, as the alternative media has grown in strength and influence, that purpose has never wavered or flagged. For us, reporting the truth is the central mission of our lives. It has been a brutal ten years, filled with horror and rage and an ocean of tears, but it is what we do, we would not give it up for anything, and we will never, ever stop.
Ten years later, and we are still in Afghanistan. We are still in Iraq. We are still suffering under the Unitary Executive theory foisted upon us by the likes of Dick Cheney, as we continue to detain people without due process of law. We are still waiting for someone, anyone, to be called to account for the crimes of this last decade. We are still waiting for someone, anyone on Wall Street, in the banking industry, in the mortgage industry, to be called to account for the brazen crimes that have eviscerated our future. Protesters have occupied Wall Street to demand exactly that, but you won’t see them anywhere in the “mainstream” news. That, right there, is why we are here.
Mr. Bush and his outlaw crew have been gone for three years, but to say things are better is to speak idiocies. The current administration, for a variety of reasons, has proven to be either unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to haul us out of this ditch. There have been baby steps here and there, to be sure, but the same old rules still apply, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the dying continues in wars that never should have happened in the first place.
That is why we are still here, and why we are not going anywhere.
Thank you for supporting us over these ten years. Thank you for reading us, and for spreading the truth right along with us. More than anything else, thank you for your care, your compassion, your strength, and your dedication to the very basic idea that it does not have to be this way. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” said Margaret Mead. “Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We will be here, trying to do exactly that.