Interview by Marina Phillips
The executive editor, publisher and site architect of www.opednews.com, Rob provides a platform where ‘real’ news is published. You won’t find the glossed-over, watered-down version of things here that you find in most mainstream media. The site is also unique in that over 50 editors volunteer their time to review the hundreds of great articles submitted each month.
OM Times caught up with Rob Kall to find out more:
(OM Times) What gave you the idea for the concept of Oped News (OEN)?
(Rob Kall) In early 2003, I was listening to Colin Powell give a speech about why they ‘had’ to go to war with Iraq. It was very clear to me then that he was lying, and we now know that’s true. I had always been really bothered by corruption. The political events around that time finally just had me thinking that ‘someone’ needed to publish the truth – and I was prepared to be that person. It began as a personal blog, and then started to develop further from there.
(OM Times) News reported by OEN should be all over the front pages and headlines of mainstream news. Why do you think it isn’t?
(Rob Kall) OEN is a publication for the people. In the evolution of it I listened to the readers, writers, and editors. The more I listened to these people, the better the site did. Hardly anything is assigned – it’s just people writing about what they want out there, and expressing what they care about. Oped News is written by regular people. Watchdog organizations, whistle-blowers, and people interested in social responsibility like us because we’re inclined to publish them. One of the main purposes of Oped News is to give the people who know the real truth an opportunity to be heard. We get between 1000 and 2000 articles submitted each month.
(OM Times) You make no bones about disliking most politicians. Are there any that you do like or admire – who actually do or have done the job they were elected or appointed to do?
(Rob Kall) Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich – there are some other decent ones, but this is the short list that comes immediately to mind. Oped News is very critical of corporate government.
(OM Times) What was it like to be physically present at the Occupy Movement events that most of us only got to watch on television?
(Rob Kall) It was very inspiring and hopeful. I found that it was mostly younger people who were getting into the game. They’re becoming so determined to change things that they are taking action against the corruption they see within our country’s leadership.
OM Times) What does Occupy mean to you, and how do you think it will affect the future?
(Rob Kall) If Occupy doesn’t change things, it’s all lost. Trans-national corporations have taken over, and they are running the government. Elected officials are not the answer, but Occupy is turning everything on its head.
There’s a thing called ‘Boiled Frog Syndrome’ – if you try to put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it’ll jump out. But if you sit him in there when the water is cold, and turn the heat up in small increments, he’ll sit there and get cooked.
The corruption within government in the USA has snuck up on us. It’s been slow, steady, and insidious. Our so-called democracy can now be bought by the highest bidder. There are those who have said this could never happen here – but it has – and we, the people, need to fix it.
THE BOTTOM-UP REVOLUTION
Rob Kall has observed that things are changing in the world in ways that are unique to our time. In describing this bottom up mindset he writes:
“… There’s a bottom up revolution going on. Our world, culture, business, brains, ways we work, relate and see things are all transitioning from predominantly top down to more bottom up, from centralized to decentralized, from an information era to a connection era. This is not something you can ignore or avoid. It is a tidal wave that is changing everything. If you don’t get it and ride the wave it will knock you over and leave you behind.
Top down is associated with centralization, control, hierarchy, domination, hard power, command and one-to-many and one-directionality.
Bottom up is associated with decentralization, sharing, interdependence, multiple means of communication, soft power, grassroots activism, cooperation, diversity and interconnectivity …”
Rob also quotes educator-philosopher, Paulo Freire, from his book, ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ when describing the dynamics of The Bottom Up Revolution. Freire asserted that the educational processes can be passive or active, but never neutral. People can, and must, become active participants in the continuing development of their world. Part of this approach entails linking knowledge to action, so that we actively change our society at our local level, starting a ripple effect outward. The main point is that in a hierarchical society:
¨ Both the oppressed and the oppressor are victims.
¨ The oppressed are the only ones who can end it.
¨ The oppressed have to end it themselves.
On a more personal note, Rob Kall is, himself, a grassroots activist with an incredible amount of understanding and compassion. He has pioneered the study of Positive Psychology in an era where it can be really hard to keep a positive outlook and mindset.
“… it’s not about polyanna. It’s about understanding the science and anatomy of happiness, positive experiences, hope, optimism and altruism, sharing, courage and the other dimensions of being positively human …”
Rob is also a firm believer that Small Acts can, and do, make a difference every day. He encourages everyone to always follow through, and to not think that the things you do don’t affect the world – they do!
“… There are big acts, like acts of congress. They happen rarely. But there are billions of small acts that happen every day. Billions!!
Some of them are acts of kindness, courage, boldness, sacrifice. Some are rebellious, some cause change, some preserve integrity, some are acts of philanthropy or other acts of giving.
Some are well thought out. Some are impulisive. Some go into the Universe with good intention and little happens. Some catch wing and, almost magically, touch someone, cast light, open a door, and change the whole world. Though there are billions of these small acts happening every day, we can’t have too many, and it doesn’t hurt to celebrate and honor those that have made a difference …”
This brings us to the reason Rob Kall is featured in OM Times this month. His many and varied ‘small acts’ are affecting the world in a big way!
The OpEd News website has been hacked several times by those who would silence them. He’s pretty sure there’s a thick security file on him somewhere with the FBI or Homeland Security, or both. Rob humbly accepts that being the person who tells the truth brings personal attack.
Although there are people who would rather the truth never saw the light of day – he stands up for what he believes in, no matter the hardship, and he encourages every citizen of the world to do the same!