Like many of you out there, I'm playing a lot of music these days, instead of compulsively watching cable news as I was during the run-up to the election. (I just can't stand to see bloviators like Tim Russert reassuring us that Bush will suddenly start "governing from the center like Ronald Reagan did during his second term." Another four years of Bush is bad enough without the inane commentary to go with it.) Anyway, the song I keep playing this week is from the new album by Neil and Tim Finn -- the same one that inspired Salon's Kevin Berger recently to pen an eloquent tribute to the musical brothers. It's called "Won't Give In" and its mix of heartbreaking minor-key melody and defiant lyrics captures my mood: "What does it mean when you promise someone/ That no matter how hard and whatever may come/ It means that I won't give in, won't give in." There's no one better to turn to than the Irish, like the Finn boys (by way of New Zealand), when you feel like crying and cursing at the same time.
But with each passing day, the urge to mourn is being replaced by the will to fight. And from the torrent of e-mail pouring in to Salon this week, it seems like you feel the same way. You're angry that Bush's campaign of fear has set the stage for another four years of theocratic zealotry; you're outraged that Republicans have seized on a slight 51 percent majority as a sweeping mandate for their radical agenda; you're insulted by the rise of a news media that seems dedicated to lobotomizing the American public.
Salon feels your passion. And I want to let all of you know: We won't give in.
The 2004 presidential campaign unleashed a tidal wave of new democratic energy. Hundreds of thousands of new activists came to life, and the organizations that harnessed this electricity will not disappear.
Salon too has been lifted up by all of you -- in recent weeks, thousands of new Premium members have joined the Salon community, and we're fast approaching a total of 90,000 subscribers. You want a free and fearless media voice more than ever now -- one that can counter the lying liars of Fox News and the "dicks" (in Jon Stewart's immortal word) at other channels, whose empty blathering has taken the place of real journalism.
"Rock on, Salon," reader Rich Greenwood, recently wrote us. "Salon has been a source of solace and intelligence for some time -- most especially now. God bless America, God bless democracy, God bless Salon."
"Please keep up the good work," Corey from New York wrote, "because you are the only comforting, realistic source of news since the election loss. The loss was a shock, and felt like a knife through my back. It's a relief to be able to read your articles and hear viewpoints from others who feel the same as I do."
Salon will continue to provide the insightful commentary that reminds us why democratic values are so vital these days. And we will also keep publishing the kind of reporting we need to shine a light on the Bush administration and to understand both blue-state and red-state America. We have no intention of retreating to our blue-state strongholds. All of America is our beat. And we will continue to be guided by the conviction that fact must trump faith in journalism and politics. And that knowledge will ultimately set us free.
One more word about Salon's future direction. While most of our readers have responded enthusiastically to our election coverage, some have complained that we have become too obsessed with politics. "I remember falling in love with Salon about a year and a half ago ... but lately I've had the sense that Salon is exclusively about politics," wrote Jason Meagher this week. "I'm optimistically waiting to fall in love again." Don't worry, Jason, we haven't forgotten your needs. While news and politics will continue to be a vital part of the Salon editorial mix, you will start seeing more coverage of entertainment, books, and personal life. Because we recognize that man and woman do not live on politics alone. We need romance, sex, music, literature, movies, philosophy -- in short, a deeper understanding and pleasure than spin can provide.
If Salon has become a passion for you, please continue to help Salon keep making a difference. Buy a membership for a friend or family member in red America. We're deeply grateful to all of you because, as Salon Premium members, you have already given Premium memberships as gifts in recent weeks. In the past three days alone, 500 members have bought Premium gift memberships. This is a particularly good time to become a Premium member if you want to hash out the meaning of the election with other Salon readers, because a Premium membership allows you to join our online community, Table Talk.
By the way, I didn't tell you how that Finn brothers' song ends, because frankly it's a bit of a downer: "It means that I won't give in, won't give in, won't give in/ 'Cause everyone I love is here/ Say it once, just say it, and disappear." I think that's everyone's fear now. That all the intense feeling of coming together to change America -- the neighborhood meetings, the concerts, the get-out-the-vote armies that swept into Ohio and Florida -- will now just disappear. Don't let it. Don't dream it's over (to quote another Neil Finn song). Let's all keep that spirit alive.