Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The following is an excerpt from a Sept. 7, 1995 editorial by Jo Ann Sloan for the Livingston Ledger, a Livingston County weekly in western Kentucky.

On the first day of school, parents of second-grade students at Smithland Elementary received a list of supplies their children must provide. I was more concerned by the letter that preceded the list. Here is the first paragraph:

“We will be using the community supply system (my ital.) where children are allowed to use all available supplies from the community supply box on their table. Please do not put your child’s name on any of their supplies since they will be used by many of the children.”

It is hard to explain my reaction. I suppose it is best described as anger and fright. Anger that a socialist system of handling a child’s school supplies would be introduced into schools; and fright that American citizens have become so complacent about democracy that such a system could even be contemplated. The “community supply system” mandated by second-grade teachers reeks of socialism.

[D]emocracy and capitalism may not make for a perfect society, but history should have taught us they work better than anything else we humans have come up with. Our children should not be forced to participate in anything that will undermine those principals [sic].


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend