Bill Moyers: This Isn't The Speech I Expected To Give : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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I know you see the magnitude of the challenge. I know you see what we're up against. I know you get it-the work that we must do. It's why you mustn't lose heart. Your adversaries will call you unpatriotic for speaking the truth when conformity reigns. Ideologues will smear you for challenging the official view of reality. Mainstream media will ignore you, and those gasbags on cable TV and the radio talk shows will ridicule and vilify you. But I urge you to hold to these words: "In the course of fighting the present fire, we must not abandon our efforts to create fire-resistant structures of the future." Those words were written by my friend Randy Kehler more than ten years ago, as America geared up to fight the Gulf War. They ring as true today. Those fire-resistant structures must include an electoral system that is no longer dominated by big money, where the voices and problems of average people are attended on a fair and equal basis. They must include an energy system that is more sustainable, and less dangerous. And they must include a media that takes its responsibility to inform us as seriously as its interest in entertaining us.

My own personal response to Osama bin Laden is not grand, or rousing, or dramatic. All I know to do is to keep doing as best I can the craft that has been my calling now for most of my adult life. My colleagues and I have rededicated ourselves to the production of several environmental reports that were in progress before September 11. As a result of our two specials this year-Trade Secrets and Earth on Edge-PBS is asking all of public television's production teams to focus on the environment for two weeks around Earth Day next April. Our documentaries will anchor that endeavor. One will report on how an obscure provision in the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can turn the rule of law upside down and undermine a community's health and environment. Our four-part series on America's First River looks at how the Hudson River shaped America's conservation movement a century ago and, more recently, the modern environmental movement. We're producing another documentary on the search for alternative energy sources, another on children and the environment the questions scientists, researchers and pediatricians are asking about children's vulnerability to hazards in the environment-and we are also making a stab at updating the health of the global environment that we launched last June with Earth on Edge.

What does Osama bin Laden have to do with these? He has given me not one but five thousand and more reasons for journalism to signify on issues that matter. I began this talk with the names of some of them- the victims who died on the 11th of September. I did so because I never want to forget the humanity lost in the horror. I never want to forget the e-mail Forrester Church told me about-sent by a doomed employee in the World Trade Center who, just before his life was over, wrote: "Thank you for being such a great friend." I never want to forget the man and woman holding hands as they leap together to their death. I never want to forget those firemen who just kept going up; they just kept going up. And I never want to forget what Forrester said of this disaster-that the very worst of which human beings are capable can bring out the very best.

I've learned a few things in my 67 years. One thing I've learned that the kingdom of the human heart is large. In addition to hate, it contains courage, in response to the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, my parents' generation waged and won a great war, then came home to establish a more prosperous and just America. I inherited the benefits of their courage. So did you. The ordeal was great but prevail they did.

-- Critt Jarvis (, November 03, 2001

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