Meria Heller’s Column
In the old Alan Arkin movie “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” Jonathan Winters has a very funny repeating line “we gotta get organized”. Keep that in mind as you continue reading this article.
For months now I’ve been hearing and reading how the “left” needs a voice to “counter” Rush Limbaugh. If it isn’t him, it’s O’Reilly or the newer voice of Mike Savage. Articles in the New York Times have circulated around the net about rich Democrats who are looking for a voice to counter the right. A new progressive or liberal voice using satire or comedy to attract an audience.
After much consideration, I realize the entire concept of “countering” is wrong. If you remember during the Presidential debates of 2000 each time Al Gore made an intelligent statement or comeback to George Bush, he was ripped to shreds as a sore-loser or snob. To lower oneself to the level of the “opponent” is certainly not a way to gain respect, nor the way to gain the ears of the listening audience. Also as a person who delivers the news five days a week, I can tell you there is nothing comedic about it.
Let’s take a look at what happened to Donahue. Phil Donahue tried being the left in the middle of the road. He made the mistake of presenting both sides of the story. What ensued most nights was a scream fest, tiny sound bytes of stories, but nothing you could walk away with. Regardless of the reason given for his show’s cancellation Phil needs to bear some of the responsibility. I know this will make some of you angry and that is not my intent. There isn’t a greater fan of Phil Donahue than myself. However, for him to position himself with the likes of Pat Robertson and Pat Buchanan did not bode well from the get go. Why he felt the need to present “both sides” of any issue was beyond me. After all, didn’t the “other side” have enough forums for their lies and hate?
Phil could have taken his cue from Bill Moyers who presents important stories, and interviews with people one-on-one without the “Jerry Springer” yelling match. When Phil had Dr. Helen Caldicott on his show, author of one of the most important books of the decade “The New Nuclear Danger, George W.Bush’s New Military-Industrial Complex” he squeezed her into the last four minutes of his show. He did not give out the full name of her book, it was simply told as “The New Nuclear Danger”. Whether he kow-towed to sponsors or producers I do not know. I do know that Helen’s work deserved the entire hour. Yet he spent countless hours on much less important subject matter. He failed because he did not realize what the listening audience, thinking Americans wanted. They were looking for a hero, a champion.
Now we hear the constant groan “we need a voice to counter Rush”. The Democrats need a voice. If that is the motive it is doomed to fail. The Democrats need a lot more than a voice. As Norm would say “we gotta get organized”. The Democrats have not exercised their voice politically since the stolen election of 2000. They were silent. The Democrats had no voice when they okayed the USA Patriot Act without reading it. They were silent. The Democrats had no voice when they sanctioned war in Afghanistan and now Iraq. They were silent. The Democrats had no voice on an independent investigation of 9/11 and the cover up of it since. Suddenly, they expect a “radio voice” or “movie star” to be that voice? Where has the Democratic party been? Where has their support been? Have they listened to the voices of their audience? Where’s the truth? The honesty? Where are the protections for, of and by the people?
Is the best they can come up with to counter the voices of the right? How about developing a voice period? What about the voices that are already out there? Where’s the support from the Democrats? Why are the few liberal talk hosts losing their shows? Giving up? Walking away in disgust? Wounded?
Every month I watch my emails. There isn’t a month that goes by that excellent news sites aren’t begging for money. From www.OnlineJournal.com to www.Truthout.org and everything in between é the very people doing the JOB of the supposed “democrats, liberals, progressives”. Begging each month just to stay afloat. Using personal income to keep doing the job of the media – which is to inform the public, yet without any help or support from either the Democratic party, Democrats, Liberals or Progressives. What is so unique about these groups that they feel entitled to a free ride on the back of true patriots? Certainly you don’t see that problem amongst the Republicans. They can shell out all kinds of money for their causes, media and “stars”. That’s why they are winning. They must have heard Norm say over and over “we gotta get organized”. Instead, the rest of the parties are too busy obsessing with their “uniqueness” and egocentric states of being.
I have had several people come to me to organize the “movement”. Well, I can tell you it’s not much of a movement. Everyone thinks everyone else is out to get them. They just can’t seem to want to get it together or even discuss a compilation of like-minded earnest media people. We could form the most powerful consortium of news there is and not compete or “counter” voices of the right but soar right over and beyond them. Yet, we cannot get organized. We cannot get funded. We get blown over by the very political powers that say they want alternative media to the right. Well, they may say it, but they certainly don’t put their support behind it. Not in money nor deed. Could it be because as Michael Moore would say “the rich have always had two parties to choose from and we have none?” I see zero difference between the parties myself. They both feed at the same corporate bordellos.
There are many out there who tirelessly and selflessly toil day in and day out without pay and without recognition because they are the “true grit” of what makes a real American. People who believe in the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and can see the fascism spreading across America. These people have been working for years, putting out the best news available right here on the net. They needn’t classify themselves any particular party, they are PATRIOTS. Thinking, feeling, intelligent human beings who want to awaken their fellow countrymen and save what little is left of our democracy. They don’t do the work to “counter” the right, they do the work to EDUCATE the masses. How many stories were broken on the net? How many authors were made by the net? How many protests were organized and helped along by the net? How many sites and shows are going away from lack of support? What will happen to truth then?
In my position as “The mouth that roars” five days a week on my international web cast, I get to hear all the stories. These patriots are filled with pain, betrayal, sadness and angst. They come to me and tell me of their plight. Their financial problems. The way their hearts hurt when their own party doesn’t support them. I think back to the few men who signed the Declaration of Independence knowing fully it would cost them their fortunes, their families and their lives. They did it anyway because they believed in what was best for all the people. These same patriots are here today. They are in different forms. They are doing the same work and make the same sacrifices. Their names may be Meria, Mark, Bev, John, Bob, Stephen and such but they are the same patriots. They have the same love of their country, their fellow men and women and human rights for all people. They don’t need to “counter” anyone. They’re too busy fighting for freedom. They need your support.
We cannot look to any political party to change what has been done in this country. We can only look to the people. Every change, every movement has always been because the PEOPLE demanded it. Forget about countering the bad guys. They will end up swallowing themselves up by their own tails. We need to support each other, and support the media that is supporting all people. If that means a few dollars from your weekly budget, so be it. Stop buying newspapers, cable television, magazines and products they advertise. Use that money to make sure free speech and freedom of the press doesn’t go away. The only place it exists anymore is online. We are the media. We have to get organized. Step out of the corporate/political trance and step in tune with your neighbor.
People don’t want or need a “movie star” to lead them. People want voices they can trust. Voices that feel what they feel, experience what they experience, and tell it “like it is”. People who are in the trenches with them. Not some overeducated, wealthy “elitist” that is disconnected from the realities 98% of us face on a daily basis. People want the honest truth. No one appreciates being lied to. People appreciate a little humor but also want the cold hard facts.
To me, the only thing we need to counter in this country is the Coup of 2000 when our entire democratic process was stolen from us by the Supreme Court. We have lived two years of hell under an illegitimate regime of criminals, oil and WTO elitists who couldn’t relate to us if they wanted to, and they don’t want to. In their pursuit of destroying our constitution and imperialist dominion of other countries, we are mere collateral damage or soft targets no different from any other civilians they willingly kill worldwide in the name of gold, oil and drugs. If you don’t believe it check out how much actual funding went into their “homeland In-Security” department for actual people protection. You’ll be surprised to find out how insignificant American lives are to the rich and powerful. That’s just the beginning. Oh, you want to know more? Let’s hope the tireless patriots pushing out their news sites, shows, books etc can keep on pumping that information out through the newly found support of the awakening patriots of America. Let’s go from “we gotta get organized” to: “We got organized and took our country back!!!”
Meria Heller is MMN‘s columnist and one of the most popular web–caster on the Internet. She hosts an international web–cast heard in over sixty countries, and has for over two years now. She believes in truth, justice and humanitarianism for all living things.