Margaret Bassett passed away quietly in her sleep Sunday morning, August 21st. She was 89 years old. She'd been an author and volunteer editor for Opednews.com for six years, writing her own articles and posting articles, diaries and thousands of "quick links" to articles by others with descriptions and titles Margaret created or selected.
Here's a link to Margaret's member page.
There, you'll see some amazing stats. But numbers don't tell the full story.
Margaret responded to a call for volunteers and dived into the work from her room in the retirement facility she lived in. She worked on opednews almost every day, posting links to important news, vetting or rejecting articles in the queue, commenting-- thousands of times. She was an integral part of the community who brought her wisdom, the long vision of history lived through, and razor-sharp insight and wit. She worked on OEN up to, and including, Friday, August 19th.
I can't tell you how many times I used her work as an example to people in their fifties, sixties, seventies and occasionally, even eighties to show they were not too old to try something new, to stay involved and engaged. She was an inspiring, strong progressive woman and will continue, for me, and I expect, for many, to be so.
The blog, ProgressiveMind
called Margaret the "She-Bear" of Opednews, reporting,
Asked why she edits, she responded, "What this old world needs is good journalism. It needs it in translation sometimes. It needs it cheaply. And it needs good journalistic standards of thoroughness. It's why I look at OEN and I ponder. I find it a good place to ponder because there are members to think with."
I've heard enough from people in Margaret's life to feel confident when I say that her work with OEN gave meaning and intention to her life, as many volunteers have reported. Today, we've started something new on the site-- a volunteer registration system. I'd like to, in some way, make a place on OEN where we honor Margaret's work and contribution. The details are not fleshed out yet. Your suggestions would be welcome-- part of the bottom up way we do things at OEN.
If Margaret's life and work and contribution inspire you to volunteer, send an email to volunteer at opednews.com. You'll get an email that directs you to the next step.
Please use the comment section of this diary to share your memories of Margaret-- interactions, and ways she touched your life.
Below is a personal note from OEN's first editor, Amanda Lang, who became close friends with Margaret:
Shortly after Rob transformed OpEdNews.com from a personal blog into a community journalism project, he asked me to train one of OpEd's first volunteer editors on how to access and use the site's new submission software program, Populum.com. It was 2005. That volunteer was Margaret Bassett, and that training session was the beginning of a close mentor-friend relationship that lasted until her death on July 21, 2011.
At OpEd, Margaret found a venue to express her greatest passions -- government service, history, and public policy. Ever sharp of mind, history, and current events, she was a living, breathing "Way-Back Machine." Any discussion of the new Hoovervilles that appeared after the 2007-8 global market crash, Margaret would produce a speech by Hoover -- not dusted off for decades -- that would tie those disastrous policies of the past to the disastrous policies of the present. And she never let her passion get in the way of her facts. No room for a lot of BS either.
Our last email exchange was on the morning of August 20th, the day before her passing. We had been discussing the Consortium News article, " The Myopic Madness of the GOP
." I share with you her thoughts on that article and her obituary:
"Rule of thumb in electoral politics. Public's culture. Without strife they tell future lawmakers where to go. Polls and pundits make conclusions. The ballot box is window dressing. If votes turn out to be erratic, look to the population. Perhaps Obama knows all this because of organizing, because he was not there to proclaim his druthers. He can abide even chaotic thinking as long as he throws hints. Those who wish to compare him with MLK forget what Dr. King had to learn. Listen to even children and recruit people like Myles Horton who had top/down labor organizing experience. Then, there is no room for bull sessions. Voting is of little importance except symbolically. Tea party gurus should see what the Panthers and SDS did in a real revolution.
GOP bigwigs can be grateful for the Holies, the Less Governments, the early American historians. They may have to watch Perry but he's not the only Republican governor on the slate. Mitt knows that."
I miss you, friend.
The following obituary was provided to Opednews by Dr. Annabel Agee to be shared with Margaret's beloved online community:
Margaret Ems Bassett
02/14/1922 -- 8/21/2011 "Margaret Ems Bassett, age 89, quietly passed away at her residence in Maryville, TN, on Sunday, August 21, 2011. Born in Gillette, WY, on February 14, 1922, the eldest of four, Ms. Bassett is preceded in death by husband William John Bassett, parents James Edwin and Fanchon Rosenstiel Ems, sister Norma Agnes Ems Cotter, and brother Robert, and niece Roberta Ems Salley. She is survived by her brother Morris Ems, niece Janeth Cotter Hernandez, niece Connie Cotter Rasmussen, niece Colleen Ems Morrison.
Ms. Bassett graduated from Campbell County High School in Gillette, WY (1940), received a BA degree in political science from State University of Iowa (1944), studied as a graduate student until August 1945, worked in international education until 1950, spent a year in Denmark, took numerous computer science classes, and completed an MS degree from Roosevelt University (1975). Ms. Bassett worked in Chicago from 1955 to 1977, at which time she and her husband retired to Tennessee.
Her lifelong interest in political philosophy was reflected by her active role as editor for almost five years on OpEdNews (OEN), an online platform for which she wrote 68 articles and posted almost 4000 comments. Also to her credit, the content she generated for OEN was viewed over 700,000 times. Margaret's most recent OEN activity was logged on the Friday evening before her passing on Sunday. In her own biographical statement for OEN profile, she noted that her early introduction to computers (1966) has served her well in keeping up with "the requirements for modern communication." She said that she hoped to find "some good coming off her keyboard into the lives of those who come after her."
She will be missed by many of the residents of Maryville Towers, a senior housing facility where she has resided since selling her home in 1999. Many of her neighbors and friends will remember Margaret as the long-time organizer/leader of the Reminiscing Writers Group at Maryville Towers."
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.
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