Here’s where those subscriptions are going, and why it matters

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Wow. Just … wow!

I thought a couple of folks might respond to my subscription challenge in last week’s column, but I never expected such an outpouring of love! At this rate, we’ll have a subscription for every Wolfskill High School student and every family at El Rio Villas.

How cool is that?

Sure, the show of support for me and for free speech was wonderful, but funneling that support toward some community members who need it makes it exponentially more so. Kindness still matters, even amid the upset and chaos that has become the 45 administration, and more importantly, it still happens.

Yes, kindness! It’s still a thing!

Those gift subscriptions are providing something for someone who literally don’t have a spare $25. Consider that fact, and take a moment to really appreciate your own circumstances. So many folks called, emailed and stopped by the office to tell my boss that they’re subscribing because they support me (which totally ruins his day, like dumping water on a grumpy cat), and for those who donated a subscription, I want to elaborate about where they’re going.

First, Wolfskill Continuation High School. I have a special spot in my heart for the students there because they’re treated as if they’re “less than” by many in our community. They’re looked down upon, and they feel it. The irony is that those who look down upon them would wither if they had to deal with the circumstances many of them wrestle with every day.

This is one of the reasons I helped them start up their own student-run newspaper — the Wolfskill News & Review — and sure, I’m biased, but I think it’s a darn fine publication. And, people in the community noticed, particularly the Rotary Club of Winters, which decided to fund the newspaper’s printing costs. That’s how you do it people — lift up those who need a hand up, not smack them back down further. That’s kindness!

Besides giving Wolfskill students something to bolster their self-esteem (Winters High School doesn’t even have a journalism class anymore, let alone a student newspaper) and give them experience with some basic but important practical job skills like finishing your work on time, doing a thorough job, working with others and meeting deadlines, maybe some will be inspired to pursue journalism as a career.

True, journalism is a job you must love because you’ll never get rich (not even close) but ironically, just as most were sounding the death knell for print journalism, I predict that journalism is poised to rebound. Trumplethinskin has declared open war on the press and is injecting doubt into our minds about the trustworthiness of the press. (In psychology, they call this “projection” — it is he who cannot be trusted.)

But here’s the thing: The press is what keeps government honest. It’s all that stands between a democracy and a dictatorship. Without a free press and free speech as guaranteed under the First Amendment, everything else crumbles. This didn’t seem so critical in previous administrations, but suddenly, the deliberate obfuscation of the truth by our own president has spun “reality” into the weeds.

I was listening to 45’s press conference on Thursday, and it was simply stunning to hear him state that news which supports him is real, and all the rest is fake. This is insanity! The man is a pathological liar. You know who’s not? Journalists. You can trust legitimate print newspapers and trusted news magazines and their affiliated websites. Don’t believe what you read elsewhere until you can find the same information from a legitimate news source, and in particular, don’t repost it on social media.

This is why true, investigative journalism may be more important now than ever, and those gift subscriptions may be encouraging the people who will protect the truth in the future. Think about the fact that Michael Flynn’s secret communications with a Russian ambassador in the midst of the Obama Administration’s sanctions against Russia were exposed by the Washington Post. Without a tenacious reporter and a free press to print the story, this treason still be going on, with 45’s blessings.

Three cheers for journalists!

Besides Wolfskill High School, the other recipients of those gift subscriptions are the residents at El Rio Villas (also known as Yolo Housing). These people are literally considered to be “on the wrong side of the tracks” — the tracks being Interstate 505 — in this town. Like the Wolfskill students, they’re also viewed as “less than,” and this town just isn’t big enough to treat anyone that way — not when our kids go to school side by side and we all walk the same sidewalks together. It’s unacceptable.

The one thing that binds a town together is everyone reading the very same community newspaper, and having trust in it. And, no one is showed favoritism based on their financial status. Whether you live in an affordable housing complex or in a hilltop mansion, everyone gets the same thing. There’s no “Gold Version” for rich folks. Newspapers are one of the great equalizers in our society.

How wonderful that those who might have struggled to subscribe to a newspaper will now be provided with one. In a perfect world, the game of life would be played on a level playing field, and having the same access to all one’s community news may be a small start, but it’s a start. It keeps everyone in the loop about local concerns and activities, and helps everyone feel like they’re invited to the party too.

So, to all who took my “subscription challenge,” thank you from the bottom of my bleeding Liberal heart. The kindness bucket is filling, but it’s not full yet. If want to help level the playing field too, send an email to the boss, charley@wintersexpress.com, or call him at 530-795-4551, and be sure to tell him it’s because “I support Debra.” That makes him grumble … which makes me chuckle. Consider it my little bonus.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at debra@wintersexpress.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

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