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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/28/08

The Activism of Hope: Pep talk and open discussion thread

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Message Kathryn Smith

Dear friends:

We all are in this together. Obviously those who are reading the diaries and articles on this site are doing so because we all are awake and aware, and wanting real news instead of the mainstream censored spin. So we all have a common goal: To help create a better world.

But as Mark Twain said very well, "the highway to hell is paved with good intentions".

 I can't pretend not to be depressed and worried about all that is going on in our country. It would be pretentious and even inhumanely inconsiderate of me to pretend otherwise. I think we all are in this together, sharing our common feelings of defeat and upset and concern.

And yet, when certain things are going on which are beyond just immoral and are even heinous, such as torture and wars based on lies and legislation which is designed to intimidate by brutal enforcement of the newly unconstitutional "law", then there comes a point when I will just as honestly confess that I get very mad when we all lay down and play victim. When things are as dire as they are now, when Hitler comes marching to town, you'd better believe you get up and stop him, otherwise you are part of his crime ring.

So I think it is terribly important, as a key activist's strategy, to stress the hope right now. Even while sharing the truths and the concerns, I think the only way we can get the masses----and ourselves----proactive, is to stress the hope.

It begins in our own brains.
It begins by sharing our experiences of success in order to spread the word of hope to others.

So let me do so now.

Some people here have protested that if they write a letter to the editor, it will only be censored and will never be printed. So why bother?

My own experience is that this is far from true. I have submitted so many letters to the editor and have had so many printed that I have lost count. Since Bush took office in 2000, I think I have had at least 150 printed, no kidding. About 25 per year, or maybe more.

Included among those letters printed by the San Francisco Chronicle was a very "Different" point of view which one would usually think would be tossed out by editors: About the Al Zarqawi case, I wrote that I keep an open mind to whether or not a terrorist really is as accused. Because, I said, a mere newspaper photograph is not enough "proof" of innocence or guilt, either way, and detainees have no due process of law to prove their innocence. So how can we believe these claims that a ringleader is in captivity, given that there is noone to prove them right or wrong, either way? Yes, even the mainstream Chronicle printed this letter.

Then another mainstream newspaper printed a letter I wrote about government secrecy being the cornerstone of abuse, and about the Patriot Act and its details. THey drew a cartoon of a safe with a padlock, with a sign hung over it "Open government".

So my point is: Yes the mainstream is censored and watered down. But does that mean that *all* submissions will be turned away? Methinks not. Editors know that their job is to represent a cross-sector of social points of view, not merely their own opinion. Agree or not, their job is to print it just because they are, as journalists, bound by the ethic of representing society's thoughts. At least, that is, where letters to the editor are concerned. ("News" articles may be a whole other matter).

So I just wanted to share my experience, and hope that others will take heart.

For the rest, if a mainstream paper does censor your letters, the thing to do is to look to where we CAN have outreach instead of where we CAN"T. Looking at the donut instead of the hole may be the encouraging motivator which keeps us going.


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This quote summarizes the nature of my concerns and the content of personal experiences which stir my activism: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement on human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves". --Paul (more...)
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