Those that interest me the most comment on the national and world political scenes. At this time of institutional stress both in our own land and internationally, I read with a desperation that pleads for sanity in a time when sanity seems impossibly remote.
I place political columnists in three categories, two of which are uninteresting because I can almost always predict what they’ll say given the headline above the column.
The first of these two are pundits whose beliefs are antithetical to mine. Oh, how angry they make me! I seethe as I read them. It’s clear they’re jerks whose views are based in unreality. You understand there are those people, right, no matter what your own philosophy is? Those who don’t think like you have no rational insights. So why do I read them? There are three reasons. First, it’s because recognizing how foolish they are stirs me to righteous anger, which feels so good. Second, incredibly, these poor thinking individuals often are excellent wordsmiths. Finally, very occasionally, and it pains me to say this, something they say makes me consider things in different ways, makes me realize I don’t have all the answers. I usually read these columns first. It’s like eating the broccoli before getting to enjoy the ice cream.
The ice cream comes from the second uninteresting category, those columnists who are thinking clearly, that is, they agree with me. When everything is going bad in the world, here are people telling me the way I’m looking at things is not only correct, but is on the side of the angels. Sure, I know what they’ll say by looking at the headline, just like with that OTHER group, but it’s okay in this case because what is being written makes so much sense. And they do such a good job of mastering the written word.
I learn very little from either of these two categories, which brings me to the final one, the one I enjoy the most. The one where the headline doesn’t allow me to know what’s coming because the columnist is full of surprises. It is from them I learn the most. It is they who make me think the most. If I were a columnist, this is the class I’d want to be in.
Which is the perfect segue. I have now produced 35 postings related at least tangentially to the act of writing. And frankly, I’m running out of ideas. You have been kind to me. I tend to get anywhere from 60 to 90 views in average weeks. Once I came close to 150. That was the one about librarians, without a doubt one of my better efforts. I believe it was forwarded and that accounts for the high number. You have been a faithful audience to put up with my pontification when I have so little real knowledge and experience in the writing area.
It is tempting to say this has been a good run, an interesting experience, and a source of occasional gratification—so let’s call it quits.
I have been encouraged by exactly one person to continue the blog, still occasionally including thoughts on writing, but expanding the subject material. My immediate reaction was no one would care an iota about whatever ramblings I might produce, and I suspect that’s the case.
However, the idea appeals. Just for the fun of it, I jotted down several possible subjects. In short order I had 28, and I hadn’t even given the matter any real thought.
It’s scary to consider such an adventure. I’m an expert on almost nothing. What I do have is a long life during which I’ve experienced much of interest (to me) and had the time to contemplate and develop views in a number of areas.
So I’m going to give it a shot. I hope you’ll like some of what I’ll do. It’s not my intention to be overly controversial (no guarantees though), but rather to provide food for thought or enjoyment or both. If I succeed, wonderful. If I fail, it won’t be the first time.
No matter what, I feel so fortunate and honored that you have tuned in for as long as you have.