Here at the end of the year, I hope you’ll pardon me for a longer than usual intro note. (Don’t worry, you can still skip ahead to the commentaries below.)

If there was anything that defined 2016 — besides the passing of beloved celebrities and the rise of Donald Trump — it was communication breakdown.

Red-state conservatives read different news from blue-state liberals. It’s the same story with rural and urban voters, and with traditionalists and cosmopolitans. We just don’t hold much information in common anymore.

Americans are no longer divided by our cultures or politics alone. We’re divided by our understanding of — or even belief in — facts themselves.

But here at OtherWords, something different is happening. Over the past year, our op-eds and commentaries have appeared over 2,500 times in over 150 local newspapers across the United States.

I’m writing this week not from my Washington, DC office, but from my parents’ home in Greene County, Ohio (home to Beavercreek, Xenia, and Fairborn, among other communities where OtherWords pieces appear regularly). After spending the holidays catching up with old friends and neighbors here, I’ve been amazed at how it easy it is to have tricky political conversations once we commit to talking to each other like human beings.

By taking this approach, OtherWords commentaries have reached over 2 million human beings this year alone through newspaper circulation, along with hundreds of thousands of readers like you who keep up with us online.

We’re in major “blue” metro areas from Boston to Los Angeles, but also in rural, “redder” communities from Colville, Washington to Crewe, Virginia; from Marquette, Michigan to Gilmer, Texas; and from Batavia, New York to Garden City, Kansas. We’re in mid-size towns from Youngstown, Ohio and La Crosse, Wisconsin to Lakeland, Florida and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In an age of media polarization, this is a rare and beautiful thing.

If you value what you’ve read from us this year, help us keep this channel open by making a tax-deductible contribution to OtherWords today. We don’t accept a dime from advertisers, subscribers, or the government, so everything we need to make ends meet comes from donations from readers and supporters like you.

Whether it’s $10 or $100 or $1,000, we spend every penny wisely and prudently, because we’re in this for the long haul.

Thanks for listening to my pitch.

In this week’s package, you’ll find an amazing op-ed from Kevin Basl, one of the veterans who went to Standing Rock, along with a powerful commentary from Medea Benjamin on U.S. arms sales in the Middle East, and an important piece from my colleague Josh Hoxie on how local communities are fighting inequality.

Also this week, Jim Hightower scoffs at “luxury tractors,” Jill Richardson forecasts the year to come, and Khalil Bendib skewers the so-called “sharing economy.”

We’ll be taking next week off for the New Year. We’ll return on Wednesday, January 11.

Happy New Year from all of us here at OtherWords. Thanks for all that you do.


  1. Why I Answered the Call for Veterans to Go to Standing Rock / Kevin Basl
    At Standing Rock, for the first time, I felt like I was finally serving the people.
  2. No More Holiday Gifts for Repressive Regimes / Medea Benjamin
    The U.S. is selling weapons to a country that’s killing a child every 10 minutes. That has to stop.
  3. Reducing Inequality in the Trump Era / Josh Hoxie
    With Washington looking hopeless, it’s up to local communities to close the gap between the richest and the rest.
  4. I’m Not Cheering the End of 2016 / Jill Richardson
    This year was tough. But whatever comes next, it’s not going to be good.
  5. Gold-plated Tractors for Gentlemen Farmers / Jim Hightower
    Would you pay a Rolls Royce price to move dirt around?
  6. The Sharing Economy / Khalil Bendib

If you need it, you can get a printable list of our latest work here. And, as always, you can follow OtherWords on Twitter @OTWords, or reach us by email at

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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