Why I Stand With Julian Assange

© REUTERS / Peter Nicholls / WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
“Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions, are tasked to act on them.” - Julian Assange

At events around the world today, people from different countries with different political perspectives attended rallies and spoke up to say that Julian Assange must be freed.

Assange must be freed because he is being punished for the sin of revealing the truth about those who hold the reins of power.

Journalists are seen outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taking refuge, London, Britain, May 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The WikiLeaks exposure of the Democratic National Committee's inner machinations should have had implications that extended far beyond the 2016 election.

By publishing the DNC and John Podesta emails, Assange laid bare the dark corruption at the heart of America's political system and the role that traditional journalism has played in keeping the truth about our politics hidden.

It could've led to a cleansing process. Perhaps in a different time, the DNC's open corruption and contempt for its own voting base would have led to sweeping reforms in both politics and journalism.

But rather than pause and reflect inwardly, the American media breathlessly threw every distraction they could, shouted as loudly as possible, in the hope that Americans would forget about what they had seen when WikiLeaks kicked the door opened on the Democrats' smoke-filled room.

And of course the media had to fight back, because actually coming to grips with the truth would've been career-ending. In a sane world, Hillary Clinton would never be part of our public national discourse again. Instead, she was able to launch a book tour.

Lee Stranahan and Garland Nixon - Sputnik International
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What WikiLeaks showed the world, however, goes beyond the political ambitions of just one person. It shows a system that is broken. It showed that the practice of democracy in America has almost nothing to do with the theoretical ideals of democracy that every politician, Democrat or Republican, lauds in speech after speech.

WikiLeaks makes the media look like the feckless cowards that they are, which is part of the reason so few professional journalist have spoken up for Assange.

I said earlier that perhaps in a different time, things would be different. This is not nostalgia for a golden age of journalism that never was, but it's a hope for a future where journalism does what it's actually supposed to do: reveal the truth about those in power and the suffering they cause.

That different time is the future. It's a future that was created by Julian Assange.

Today, the question for each of us is: will you accept Assange's suffering? Or will you act by taking the bold step to use your voice to say something about it?

Lee Stranahan is the co-host of The Most Disruptive Show in America: Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik.

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