The Fringe Editor Rants!
You’d think a media like Sierra County Prospect would lose subscribers frequently. After all, our mission statement requires us to give you something different, occasionally even better, than you can get from established media, particularly print media. From our inception we’ve promised to keep your right to free speech strong by exercising it, using it to the fullest, and we’ve done that more than most media. Between the Fringe editor and the Dissenting Editor*, we dislike almost everything about the Western World. So, you’d think we’d lose readers pretty much every week.
But we don’t; in fact, since we first began publication only two people have unsubscribed (hi, guys!), while we continue to get new subscribers pretty much every week. This reflects far more gloriously on the open-mindedness and tolerance of our readers than on anything we do.
Yet, we lost a subscriber over the last issue. You might not think so, but it hurts a little when someone leaves the readership. This is a very personal endeavor, we don’t write to a faceless throng, we write to you, the people who take the time and make the effort to read. So, when we lose a reader, we lose someone we’ve been laboring for.
We don’t know why this reader left; you can unsubscribe with no explanation, and we sent a “dis-satisfied reader” Questionaire, but they didn’t answer. We’re going to make a wild guess and say it was “Dumb Enough to Rule” which insulted the entire American Political Duopoly, left and right**. One reason we believe this, is that the Fringe editor got emails from friends who were shaken that he was going to vote for Meg Whitman. These emails had a “please don’t jump” quality to them.
The other reason is that the Dissenting Editor dissents from that view; read her wild-eyed rant across the aisle, or wait until I’m done with my measured, dispassionate remarks.
To the Dissenting Editor and others, I ask: Are you people soccer hooligans, fighting for your team as though they were a cause worth killing for? The reason we are stuck with two lame parties which cover the political alphabet from A to B is that people have this strange loyalty fetish to their parties that defy criticisms based on fact. Your political party isn’t your family, it isn’t your community, it isn’t even your soccer team. The parties are literally corporations who exist to win our participation, like any other corporations. They make money from us, but even more so from our votes. Our political system is being run by Coke and Pepsi. Indeed, Move On.org and TEA Partyers are struggling to push the parties to the left and right, to open up some space between the two hoary clans that rule us.
“Democracy” (we aren’t democracy, we’re a representative republic, so who knows why we’re spreading “democracy” around the world) is a strange endeavor at best. Voters select representatives who do as they wish and grab all the headlines they can until two or four years are up when they rely on poor voter memory to get re-elected again. No matter how angry you are with a politician, there isn’t much you can do right then, you have to wait two or four years and vote them out. It’s like driving a pickup from the back by shouting instructions at your dog, who is behind the wheel. You might even stay out of the ditch until a squirrel dashes across the road.***
As voters, and “free people” (whatever that means in 21st Century America) we have the responsibility to be critical of our rulers. They make laws, they empower bureaucrats to make regulations. These people have real power to make us miserable. We should complain all we can when they pass bad laws.
They also use our emotions to play us off against each other, making us think our real problems are undocumented workers or people on septic tanks when our problems are much larger, and closer to the ruling class, than that.
I haven’t given up on America; far from it. I’m happy to live in a country where we can have a change in government without bloodshed; in those countries your party is your party and your clan and your religion. Our parties are just corporations.
And I don’t fault the parties for taking advantage of us; if you let people screw you, they will. It’s us, the voters, it’s our fault for supporting the power structure, for pretending the new boss is going to be different from the old boss.
We’re sorry to lose readers; we’d rather people send angry letters to the editor, that is how free speech is supposed to work. We owe the readers that remain honesty, even if we have to speak unpleasantly to context it. Thomas Jefferson believed the new nation could be governed by the common person, using his or her native intelligence and informing themselves through the press. We hope we’re doing that.
Soccer Hooligans: My Team Is Best So I'll Kill You!
*The most astute and urbane readers will recognize the reference to Dissent magazine, go HERE
** Ukrainian comedian Yakov Smirnoff used to say: “In Soviet Union we only have one political party. America is much better, you have two.”
*** Though he’ll deny it, Cooter is a mediocre driver at best, even given he can’t reach the peddles.
Note: we actually lost two subscribers, but it turns out one unsubscribed for a completely different and personal reason, and they still consider themselves Prospect supporters, and will keep in touch.