Engelhardt, A Year (Not) to End All Years

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Keeping TomDispatch Alive

In Deeply Troubled Times

Dear TomDispatch Reader,

In 2022, when I was putting together the end-of-year plea I always post to keep TomDispatch going in a tough world, I wrote: “This time around though, I have to wonder whether it may be the last such missive I’ll write.” Well, as it happens (and thanks to the generosity of the readers of this website), it wasn’t. Three hundred and sixty-five days later — the beginning of our 23rd year and halfway through my own 79th year on this ever more embattled planet — I’m back, asking for your support.

This is probably the least enjoyable thing I do at TomDispatch. I mean, why should I get any pleasure out of bothering you for money when, like most people, I don’t enjoy being bothered for it myself? Still, as I wrote you last year, this site’s splendid readers are now the only way I’m able to keep things going. The foundation money that I once regularly received disappeared with the death of the wonderful head of the Lannan Foundation, Patrick Lannan — a sadness beyond words for this website. And amazingly enough, you really have made all the difference. You’ve ensured that I’ve been able to continue to focus on the subjects that desperately matter, whether it’s climate change in this record-breaking year of heat, America’s eternal financial militarization, or the present disaster in Gaza.

I mean, here I am, 23 years later, still running this website that has long offered — or so I, at least, believe — a take on our world that’s both all too sane and all too rare. I stumbled into doing this in the wake of the Bush administration’s disastrous post-9/11 decision to invade Afghanistan. (Didn’t any of them remember the Soviet experience of the previous century?) With it, they launched a catastrophic and all-too-global “war on terror” that, as Nick Turse wrote only recently, is still disastrously ongoing. (His coverage of the U.S. military role in Africa is the sort of thing you’ll find nowhere in the mainstream media world of ours.)

When I look back on the last two decades-plus of TD pieces, including those by remarkable now-dead figures like Barbara Ehrenreich, Mike Davis, and Chalmers Johnson, I must say that I think this modest website has focused so much more incisively on what’s mattered in our world than mainstream sources of information. And this year has been no exception, whether you’re talking about William Astore (who has now written 103 pieces for TD!), Andrew Bacevich, Rebecca Gordon, Clarence Lusane, Alfred McCoy, Liz Theoharis, or… but let me not continue down a nearly endless list of superb writers. All I can say is: If, starting with America’s disastrous Global War on Terror and running through so many other nightmares of this century, including climate change, those who matter in this country had paid attention to TomDispatch, we might find ourselves on a different planet today. But no such luck, of course.

Still, with that in mind, let me urge you to visit our donation page and do what you can to ensure that this site makes it through another year, covering the issues that truly matter, or at least should matter, on this planet of ours.  And since the one thing this old guy doesn’t do — I just don’t have the time! — is thank each of you personally for your donations (though I see them, one by one, as they come in and feel so deeply appreciative), let me thank you now. You don’t know how much each of you who has supported this website means to me. Put as simply as possible, I couldn’t have made it all these years without you. Not a chance! So, thanks beyond words…

My warmest regards,

Tom (Engelhardt)