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45!


This is my 45th post since I started this blog in July. This is a rate of six to seven posts a month, something I never thought I would sustain at the start. I’m not a tweeting man, but if I were, here are some of the points I would brag about. Any resemblance to a certain 45th president is coincidental--

Since I started my blog;

  • The Dow Jones has gone up 2,711 points (a 12.6% increase)

  • The US economy has gained 1,272,000 jobs

  • There have been no airline crashes in the US at all during this period

  • Some people are saying that this is the best, most accurate, most widely read blog they’ve ever seen

  • This site has been recognized as the work of a genius—a very stable one, I might add

  • The polar ice caps have continued to set records

45 posts, with an average of 800 words a post, means I’ve written roughly 36,000 words in total. Who was it who suggested being paid by the word? That would suit me fine, as I’ve gotten feedback that I can go on a bit long. But I’m not even being paid at all, as I squeeze in time to write about topics that interest me in the evenings after work or on weekends. I don’t know where this is going, and what the future holds for an unpaid, unknown blogger, but for the time being I plan to keep plugging away.

Full disclosure: This blog is being driven mainly by personal and systemic frustration. When I was in elementary school, I would write whenever I had the chance--poems, stories, essays. My fifth grade teacher had me read a daily story to the class. I kept this up throughout public school and into my first year in college, when my creative writing teacher (who became a nationally recognized novelist) praised my skills. Then, the next year, a grouch of an instructor (who didn’t become very famous) was highly discouraging and completely turned me off writing. I’ve dabbled in it since then, but never on such a serious basis. Well, it may be too late now to pursue a writing career, but this blog is a way to introduce my voice to the community, if only in a small way.

My other persistent motivation is frustration with the world. As I’ve tried to make clear in several posts, it’s not exactly that the current president drives me crazy (though he does). Rather, I’m disgusted with several systemic and long-term trends in our country. These broad themes of American history and current events that have percolated through my blog posts:

  • Pervasive racism and segregation

  • The War on the Poor

  • The decline in our political system that enabled the election of our current president

  • How the president’s enablers are failing in their role to check executive overreach

The common leitmotif that ties these themes together is my core belief that a strong functioning democratic government has an important role to play in ensuring that “make America great again” is a tangible goal, rather than an empty and divisive slogan. The examples of leaders such as Hamilton, Lincoln, and the two Roosevelts show that our country flourishes when American government is used as a force for social and economic development. I think most of my readers would agree with this progressive philosophy.

As convinced as I am about my political positions, I am painfully aware that those on the other side are equally certain about their own opinions and find my ideas offensive. It is clear to them that government is the problem, Americans are overtaxed and over-regulated, immigrants are a drag on our society and economy, America needs to drill for more oil and produce more coal, gun ownership should not be limited, religion should influence policy, and life begins at conception. Push further to the right and you will get people who believe all of these, plus that the news media deliberately lies, white supremacists have a legitimate voice in society, and that Barack Obama was an illegitimate president.

In a normal political environment, I would say that having two sides is a positive and healthy thing, as long as both sides are drawing opinions based on factual circumstances, are committed to the general good, and--perhaps most fundamentally--uphold democratic values. Unfortunately, that has not been the case with the Republican Party, especially one that is largely in thrall to the current president.

If this sounds like a partisan screed right now, I understand. But don’t listen to me. Read this article in The Atlantic by Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes, senior fellows of the Brookings Institution, who are far from liberal. They advocate for all voters, including Republicans, to vote a straight Democratic ticket, to repudiate and reform the current anti-justice, anti-democratic bent of the party now led by its current president.

45 years ago, the same year that the Justice Department was suing the current president’s family business for refusing to rent apartments based on race, the Senate Watergate Committee met to investigate the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters and subsequent cover-up by the Nixon White House. The group of seven senators acted on a non-partisan basis, and two Republicans, Howard Baker and Lowell Weikert made a name for themselves for seeking truth over party. The next year, Republican Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott told Nixon that a majority of the party was likely to support impeachment, based on the evidence they had seen.

A lot has eroded in 45 years, not least of all partisanship, fact-based decision making, and respect for the rule of law. I will keep calling it out, and I hope you will keep reading.

Here’s to another 45 . . . posts, that is.

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