The Real Enemy is Silence

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For several years now, I’d accepted the reality that this site—until recently, a single-content home to my exclusive, occasional, one-at-a-time musings on a motley assortment of topics—had hardly been a magnet for the masses. The “admin” page had all the stats, and I could see very clearly that apart from some semi-regular clicks out of Singapore and a troll or two in the Baltics, anyone who landed here probably did so by mistake—the consequence, I suppose, of poor enunciation when using Siri or Alexa or OKGoogle. Drink heavily enough on a Friday night, and your audible search engine could easily transpose a slurred request for “places with eggs benedict” into “take me to Fresh Rhetoric,” and voila!—you’d end up here.

Perhaps I should have posted more commentary about brunch.

Having grown convinced, over time, that this obscure little dot of a website served little to no purpose in the brightly lighted universe of internet stars, I’d pretty much decided several months ago to shut it all down—to pack it in, call it a day, flip the switch—and perhaps pursue a hobby less absorbing but more relaxing, like maybe the collection of lint.

Then came Trump. And Bannon. And Conway and Sessions and Spicer and Priebus, and the entire coterie of civics class dropouts now controlling the executive branch of our government, trying to neuter the First Amendment by peddling the authoritarian notion that the media are “the opposition party”—that journalistic institutions are “enemies of the American people.” And at that—at those clear and unmistakable alarm bells warning of an assault, from the highest office in the land, on the most basic, most fundamental, most necessary of civil rights—I determined that, for me, now was not the time to go silent.  To the contrary, now was the time not merely to speak up and to speak out, but to amplify that speech, and to add as many voices as possible.

And so I’ve refashioned Fresh Rhetoric. I’ll continue my semi-regular musings, for as small or as large an audience as might find reading them not a total waste of time.  But I’m also adding the voices of others.  For as few or as many visitors who find their way to this site (whether by accident or on purpose), Fresh Rhetoric will now be curating and promoting links to a panoply of ideas, stories, opinions, and random whatnot—not all of which will be political, but all of which, regardless of topic or tone, will be offered in the spirit of the broader notion that in a free society, news, information, ideas, and commentary are not the enemy.

In a free society, silence is the enemy.

~~Kenn Shapiro

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