Silence Is Not an Option

Why I'm launching America, America

I’m doing it. I’m launching a Substack publication called America, America. I’m thinking of this project as both a plea and an ode, to share regular dispatches of urgency and hope, to observe and reflect on politics and society, democracy and justice.

If you’ve followed me on Twitter, you know that I try every day to observe our country’s political dynamic as clearly as I can, then use that medium to speak out honestly and fearlessly. The regular dispatches on America, America are a chance to dig deeper, let ideas unfold in more than 280 characters, and build a community committed to telling the truth and making a better world.

If I dreamed that the election of Joe Biden and the eviction of Trump from our house would make this publication unnecessary, that I could simply move on to other work as a new and better America arrived to replace four years of pathological lying, malignant narcissism and cruelty, sociopathy and criminality, the deadly insurrection on January 6 put an end to that. 

We have seen how seditious extremists and millions of Americans, including a majority of elected Republicans, continue to stand with Trump and against our democracy. They are willing to toss aside the rule of law to keep Trump and his acolytes near the levers of power.

I intend to sound the alarm with clarity and urgency, to state the truth as directly and vividly as possible about what’s failing and what needs to be fixed. I won’t hesitate to take a hard look at both the troubles and the troublemakers who are an obstacle to our democracy and a just society. 

But I also intend to remind us of the ideas and values that have created a country rich with potential, to reflect on those qualities and the people that can inspire us and give us hope. 

I thought about calling this new publication Silence Is Not an Option. Because speaking out—writing what I think without fear of retribution—is what I increasingly understood is my responsibility. 

As many of you know, I used to be more hesitant. There was a time I maintained more journalistic detachment; I hewed tightly to the facts and hesitated to provide much interpretation, let alone explicitly express my moral position or my feelings. But the daily degradations and desecrations by Trump and the support he garnered by so many changed that. 

My sense of duty shifted, deepened. I felt it was my obligation to tell the truth as clearly as I could. To say what I think and feel. To provide reminders of the difference between true and false, right and wrong, sanity and sheer madness.

As a citizen, I could not stand idly by. I had to express my outrage at a time when our democracy, human decency, indeed reality itself, are under attack. Dare I say, I think this remains the duty of each of us who care about the promise of America and a better life.

With America, America, I will share my observations and analyses, regular Q&As, occasional interviews and excerpts of a book in process. But I also want to listen and create the space for community discussions.

I have come to understand how much insight I gain from hearing from each of you—and how much an engaged community can learn from each other.

I hope you’ll subscribe to America, America and join me in this continuing journey.