The Shepherd's Thoughts for 2017
It’s safe to say that 2016 didn’t work out as many of our readers had hoped. We have a president-elect like no other president-elect in the more-than-225-year history of our country who seems to have no idea of the complexity of the world and no real understanding of public service and the common good. We continue to have billionaires buying our elections, from the Milwaukee county executive election, state legislative races and Wisconsin’s U.S. senate seat to the presidency of the United States. Other than perhaps Russia, the vast majority of the rest of the world is appalled by our election and can’t believe what has happened in the U.S.
Unfortunately, we are currently seeing too many good Americans experiencing a growing sense of despondency and disillusionment about our country and our future. This gets us nowhere. We are asking our readers to pause and step back and accept the fact that we lost the election. Even if you believe this election was rigged by FBI Director Comey’s totally unethical actions 11 days before the election, fake news spread across the internet or Russia’s intervening in our elections, Trump was declared the winner. It is like a football game where there was an obvious bad call that determined the outcome of the game. Once the game is over, it’s over, and they aren’t about to replay the game. The same is true with this election, which may go down in history as the most unethical and most unfair. No matter how we feel, we can’t change the outcome of the election.
We must look forward and fully understand that in the long term history moves forward on a progressive trajectory. Slavery no longer exists, women have the right to vote, labor unions are able to organize, civil rights laws provide equal protections and gay folks can marry to name just a few of the monumental changes America has experienced. Each one of these changes came about because people organized and fought for them. Power is never just given away. It is always the result of political struggle and there are always blowback and rearguard actions.
When progressive, forward-looking change gets blocked at the federal level, as we will experience next year, or at the state level, as we have seen over the past six years, we organize at the grassroots level where all change originates. President Franklin Roosevelt would often tell progressive groups coming to him and asking for various laws and protections, “Make me do it.” He was asking for their help to organize at the local level so there would be strong and active popular support for what they wanted so he could get it enacted with less blowback. FDR’s advice is still valid today. If we want change, we have to do the organizing at the grassroots level. If we want to minimize the damage done by the Trump administration and continue to build a strong movement for positive change so we can prevail in the next elections, we need to organize at the grassroots level. With almost three million votes cast in Wisconsin, Trump only won the state by 22,177 votes. That was no landslide.
History is like a river which, when it gets blocked at one point, finds a different path to continue moving forward. Right now our work is at the grassroots level whether it is as a volunteer and/or a financial contributor or however you show your support; we must get more involved and actively support what we believe is right for America so we can again be that shining star of freedom and democracy for the entire world. Things will never change if good people don’t stand up and take action in the face of opposition.
The Shepherd’s Commitment to You
We, the Shepherd, promise to continue to support and promote all of your efforts through fact-based, honest journalism. We will continue to speak truth to power no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it may be. The Shepherd has lost active advertisers and were told by potential advertisers that they will not advertise in the Shepherd because we are a progressive publication. In a time in history when it is difficult to be an honest and principled media company, losing advertisers is no fun, but if that is the cost of being an ethical and progressive media company, the Shepherd will not walk away from its principles. Occasionally we have asked these advertisers if they have any problems taking money from progressive customers or clients whose views they eschew, and, of course, you know their answer.
So as we look ahead to 2017, we see some turbulent times, but we also see a lot of hope such as the fact that the millennials are embracing more progressive values than many in the older generations and they are the future. We will strongly oppose the policies of the Republican administrations in Washington and Madison. We are alarmed by the rise of—and belief in—fake news and the bullying of the legitimate press and will fight that any and every way we can. But we know that for every action, there will be a reaction. We are confident that fair-minded and progressive individuals will find creative ways to advance what is in the best interests of our country.
Instead of falling into depression and calling it quits, we believe good people will get to work building a better future as good people have always done throughout history. And we promise that as you fight the good fight, the Shepherd will stand by you and honestly tell your stories to a wider audience. The Shepherd has never backed down in the past 35 years of our existence and we certainly won’t be intimidated now or in the future. Please join us in 2017 in building a brighter future. We want to thank you once again for your support, which means so much to all of us at the Shepherd. We also want to thank our great advertisers, and we ask all of you to support our advertisers whenever and however you can. Finally, if you can, please thank the advertisers that you patronize for advertising in the Shepherd since they are vital to enabling us to distribute more than 62,000 copies of the Shepherd every week at more than 1,150 locations free of charge to you.
Happy New Year,
The Shepherd Team