One Jumps Ship

The Fringe Editor Rants! 092610

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 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!
Source UNK.

*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.  
The Dissenting Editor Dissents!

Larry, you ignorant slug, you forgot that we have had previous unsubscribers over local political issues, early in the primary season, however, that isn’t the issue.

The issue is I disagree with you mightily on your take of a “strange loyalty fetish” of people who embrace their party of choice, be it Democrats or Republicans. There are major differences in the two parties. I am a Democrat and my take is that Republicans do not understand the role government plays in society. That is my major thought. In addition there are a myriad of issues where Republicans and Democrats have big gaps as to how we should address poverty, war, economic issues, global warming, women’s bodies, religion and healthcare.

You constantly say there is no difference between the donkeys and elephants. If that is so why are we always arguing about how to do things? If we were the same then why don’t we all get together and do it the way our sameness sees it?

You say the political parties are corporations that make money from us. The corporations are us. Political parties are made up of people, us. Instead of kicking and screaming and whining about how these big bad people are infringing on your rights, get out there and get involved. Run for office; help make the changes you so seem to think are necessary.

I do agree with you on wondering why we think spreading democracy through the world is so important. People in other countries, with other cultures and politics should be allowed to follow their own destinies. This doesn’t mean that we ignore the cruel and horrible acts against other people; we need to step in when there is oppression and heartless acts against humankind. But we don’t need to tell them what political system they should follow.

I hate it when you talk about “they”. As in “they make laws”, they empower bureaucrats”, “they use our emotions”, “let people screw you, they will”. How sad and disenfranchised you sound when spouting that kind of talk. A little like Sarah actually.

I don’t want SCP to lose readers either, when we lose two subscribers, we gain four who are interested in hearing new ideas. But wailing into the ozone about “they” should be left to Sarah, Glenn and what’s his name, you know the one who used drugs, oh yeh, Rush.   
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