An artistic way of saying thank you
I owe a debt of gratitude to all of you, my forty-four fans, regular readers and others, especially OpEdNews.com Editor-in-Chief Rob Kall. For today I begin a trip from the Midwest to Westfield, New Jersey. I begin a journey because I have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve The Nation magazine as an intern in New York during the spring of this year.
I do not know if I will be able to continue to publish here, but I certainly intend to continue to publish here throughout the duration of my internship, if that is allowed. The internship position is not a writing position. It will be a position that requires me to do research, fact checking, and other tasks that help ensure a media or press organization stays highly regarded.
I will be a web intern, working as a direct assistant for The Nation magazine's website. Perhaps you've gone there in the past month--Greg Mitchell has been providing live updates on all things WikiLeaks on his blog since WikiLeaks began to release the leaked diplomatic cables. And, John Nichols, Jeremy Scahill, and others regularly post content on their blogs.
A friend who helped me apply for this internship has told me that this internship will afford me the chance to learn how to pitch stories to newspapers and magazines. Gaining web experience will also make it possible for me to get a job so that I might pursue a career that can give me an income to sustain a living.
The collapse in journalism over the past decade has produced a dire situation for this country. Indeed, it is harder to make a living reporting and writing news stories than ever before. The Internet has virtually erased the thought that what people write has any value and should be paid for. More specifically, it has to some extent created this two-tier system of journalism: online material is free while offline material is to be paid for.
There is no telling what this internship will make possible. I admit that I really do not know what I am doing. But, I am not afraid. I have the support of family and friends. And, what I am doing feels right even if there is no guarantee it will give me security in life.
I want to make sure everyone here understands that we each have great potential to make a difference. Sure, someone young like me, who understood when he was nineteen years old to seize the moment, will probably have more shots and opportunities than others. People who aren't just out of college aren't going to get internships. But, that's not the point I am trying to make.
I spent over three years here and have done some work here
and there as an editor. I've published over five hundred articles. Many of
them include reporting and are not just pure commentary. The work I have done was all
donated. I have not profited off any of it. Yet, what I did, my body of
work, was good enough to catapult me to this position with The Nation (I actually graduated from college with a film degree. That didn't get me the position, my work here at OpEdNews did.)
This site--the writers here, the editors, the readers, and the stories this site compelled me to research and write--is most responsible for my political evolution in the past two years. Without this resource, I would not be headed to this office signing MoveOn.org petitions, running a blog with very few readers, volunteering for Democratic congressmen who cannot be moved to defend the middle class, and I would be largely ignorant of so many realities of the world.
Now that I will be on the East Coast, I expect to be doing even more reporting. I hope to be able to make it to more protest or resistance events in D.C. I hope to make more connections with people in New York, Pennsylvania and other New England states. I intend to go to Free Press' National Conference on Media Reform in Boston in April.
I'm going to be actively connecting with people who are taking risks, waging struggle, and fighting for a better future. And I encourage you to do so too.
The hope that we have can only be substantiated by the reality that people are out there resisting: resisting the further transfer of wealth to the top; resisting the wars which make it impossible to fund jobs, education and human needs here in America and which ensure that innocent civilians are brutalized and killed; resisting the corporate power which refuses to allow government to truly protect the environment and address the growing problem of global warming; resisting government moves away from transparency; resisting proto-fascist factions which exploit religion to deny Americans equality and rights; and resisting the creeping fascism that has been and is taking place in this society.
Hope can only be substantiated by these resisters. If there is no resistance or protest, then we must admit what we have isn't hope but illusion: illusion which convinces us not enough is wrong for us to step out and let others know something needs to be changed; illusion which affords us the luxury of continuing onward without care for the poverty or injustice that is being spread as a result of policies in this country; illusion which breeds delusion and ensures that the people of this country continue to fail to collectively address a coalition of problems, which could very well bring this country's downfall if not taken seriously.
The late Howard Zinn, the people's historian who America lost in 2010, wrote in his book A People's History of the United States, that during the 1990s "there was, unquestionably, though largely unreported, what a worried mainstream journalist"called "a permanent adversarial culture' which refused to surrender the possibility of a more equal, more humane society. If there was hope for the future of America, it lay in the promise of that refusal."
Those who refuse have gone unreported long enough. We all must band together and use everything that we've got to create echoes so more and more people know people are showing great initiative and taking action.
On January 4th, I step in to the offices of The Nation Magazine ready to serve, believing that this is one step in one long journey to become more capable of ensuring that many, many more Americans know what their fellow citizens are doing for freedom, justice and peace each and every day.