I am almost there with adjusting to and settling in a new town. It’s been a nonstop process: a new city, a new house, a new car and driver license, new neighbors, a new bank, new insurance and doctors ... well, a whole bunch of new things. As part of starting all these new things I had to meet with a new accountant to learn the new requirements dealing with new taxes in my new state. Nothing extraordinary about all this, but it is the intro for the following thoughts and state of mind I’ve been in since. So please bear with me…
Now that we have a site based on a subscription-donation model, I had to address all those pesky tax ramifications, and as part of that, I had to answer the following question:
‘So what does this website deal with?’
The short answer would be ‘information and news.’ And I gave the short answer, which only aroused further curiosity and a follow up question:
‘What sort of information and news?’
I listed a few: ‘Oh, all the assaults on our civil liberties, the speedy rise of the police state, our perpetual wars, hypocrisy-ridden foreign policy, corruption, government criminal conduct … you get the picture, right?’
I tell you what: his face told me more than any verbal answer. You know … the kind of face we make when we face or hear about unpleasant stuff. And that my friends, started this whole nonstop thought process for me. It’s been a downer; really. I’ve been feeling like those cancer specialists-where people go with a dire dread, knowing they most likely will be getting dire news. I’ve been feeling like dentists- who are sometimes needed and always dreaded. I’ve been feeling like funeral-home directors, mailmen delivering bad news …Basically, I feel like the proprietor of a site that gives reality in high-dosages on the most unpleasant and painful topics. So should I be surprised at the minute percentage of people who regularly visit and read this website-ready to receive their dosage of ugly realities on the ground?
Since yesterday I’ve been comparing our website to a very few non-political websites I’ve been visiting daily. And doing that has been even a bigger downer. I know how religions and specialists warn people against this thing called ‘envy.’ I am not sure if mine would be considered ‘real envy’, but even if it isn’t it belongs to that family. Let me give you an example:
There is this incredible lady who started her highly successful and popular website on cooking/recipes and related topics as a simple blog only 4 or 5 years ago, and has gathered hundreds of thousands of loyal followers since. The website is called Pioneer Woman, and I’ve been visiting it since 2010. The lady photographs every step of her cooking-extremely well done photography, and provides simple wholesome recipes written with humor and lovely simplicity; very personable. Do I find some of the stuff in there completely corny? Yes; of course I do-it can’t be helped. On the other hand, in this case, being utterly corny hasn’t stopped me from regular visits. There are tens of thousands of people who visit and spend time on her website. There are thousands who post comments every hour. And the number of visitors and commenters has been increasing exponentially. Why wouldn’t it?
There are sites like PW where people visit, spend time, and feel GOOD. Feel GOOD. The mouth-watering and gorgeous food pictures make everyone feel GOOD. Delicious sounding recipes and the joy of eating make everybody feel good. And that includes me. It is about food, creating food, the art of creating and picturing food, the joy of eating good-looking delicious food. It is FUN. It is LIGHT. It is a bit AIRY. It is … well, it is a site offering goodies.
Now, immediately switch hats, and think about our site: Realities- the constant assault on our liberties, the constant many-fronted wars and daily death-destruction, the declining economy, government waste-fraud-abuse. That’s right. That’s what we are offering. The truth. The ugly truth. Hearing ad reading about it makes us feel BAD (as it should, of course). It makes us DEPRESSED. It makes some of us ANGRY. It is tough on the eyes and brain. It is hard to read. It is tough to stomach when we try to digest. It is a DOWNER. It makes sensible people want to AVOID it. It is like the dentist or oncologist offices we try to avoid-even if they are needed and necessary for us.
Yes. That’s our site. Do I regret starting it? Hell, no. Do I regret operating it and keeping it alive? Of course not. Is it sometimes a downer to realize how much of a downer the realities we present here are? You bet. Do I have momentary (okay, in this latest case one full day) envy attacks-envying sites that present the good and beautiful? Sure. Is it frustrating to realize the necessity of an ugly-realities site, yet, seeing that even if it is needed it is dreaded and avoided by many? Most definitely.
With all that said, despite all its down and depressing moments, I am still as determined as I’ve ever been to continue and run this website for the irate minority. And I certainly hope despite its downer-sobering effects presenting ugly truths and realities you continue your visits and support of this website. Because avoiding ugly realities won’t get rid of them; just the opposite-it will make it easier for them to accelerate their ferocious ugliness. Not seeing or reading about them will not prevent the ugly realities from infesting every aspect of our life. Seeing and facing the ugly truth is the first step taken towards challenging it.
Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post, Founder of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.