Recently, at our weekly Guernica staff meeting we sat around the conference room table, ate _Dinosaur Barbecue_, and worked on our all-important mission statement, one of the principle legal requirements for our move to non-profit status. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to have fun and restate our purpose, both for ourselves and for The Man. Some of the words that were rejected/removed from the Guernica mission statement:
* Nancy Reagan
* Mother Earth
Coming up with the statement, which we’re still tweaking a tad but promise to show you soon, and trying out different words reminded us of Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Vilsack recently spearheaded the ingenious "Our Ten Words" campaign on HeartlandPac.org. The idea was to "start a discussion about the Democratic Party’s message by obtaining as many ideas as possible" and "bring together resources we have to create our message—and in the process, to set aside old labels and rivalries." Visitors to the site, presumably Democrats, though Karl Rove likely participated, are asked to submit ten words that would help define the party’s message. Typical Democratic solution to the current administration’s Orwellian, cutthroat politics—Let’s list our favorite words! Let’s lavish ourselves with self-congratulatory haiku! At this writing, this is the submission listed as number one: "We start with hope, we run with ideas, America wins." We run with ideas? Better than scissors, we suppose, but these words won’t beat the sticks-and-stones game that is contemporary American politics defined by Republican majorities, where no one wins. And if the contest exists primarily online, why do they pretend space limits them to ten words? It may take more to encapsulate the emotions and illogic that has been our sad dystopia these past five-plus years.
As Norman Solomon and Mark Crispin Miller point out in the last months’ politics interviews on Guernica, some Democrats seem increasingly to be up against forces they don’t understand. Solomon points out how more than an unclear message, it’s an abused form of nationalism that places Americans at the center of the world, that the Democrats can’t fathom deeply enough to combat. But no wonder they are confused: they do know how to combat it, at least on the campaign trail. After all, they won in 2004. It’s the basics of electoral hard ball that they don’t understand, according to Mark Crispin Miller. It’s like trying to play the cutthroat basketball of the Dennis Rodman-era Bulls. If the Democrats can’t secure the integrity of elections, what matter if they collect the prettiest words in Roget’s Thesaurus. They might be doing exactly what is needed on the campaign trail, polling with the smartest of pollsters, but if elections are stolen—and presumably they are—what good does retooling the sound bites do? When we hear even somewhat enlightened folks like Bill Maher start sentence after sentence with, "That’s what got this guy elected twice," it makes the need for independent news and free inquiry seem all the more important to us. He certainly wasn’t elected twice. We know that much. But was he even elected once?
And lest we forget our mission with regard to art, we herald our ongoing commitment to bringing you the finest new writers and artists, and ask that you stay tuned (cliché, stay pinged) for new April content, including:
* more on the pharmaceutical industry (this is the last of Jake Whitney’s four-part investigative series)
* an interview with green architect Neil Chambers
* new fiction from Edi Meidav
* two translations of poet Antonio Machado
* and an interview with author Joan Didion, among other offerings.
Thanks for reading.