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Friday, September 4, 2009



There's a very thin line, as we all know, between explanations and excuses. They are first cousins; at times looking very much alike, but mostly, easily distinguished by how they look and sound. What I'll say now could look like either. I'll leave it to you to decide what it is.

I haven't written here for over four months. I'd been foundering in this space, trying to assess the real value of my writing. When all it seemed like I was doing was reacting to the latest thing I was supposed to be pissed off about - whatever Glenn Beck said, tea-baggers, the latest GOP lie, it didn't seem inspiring to me, or to anyone else (I thought). I'd had serious internal debates about changing the name of the blog (which I will not do, thanks to inspiration.) Since then, there have been many more incidents, many more things to react to in our changing world, under our new President - Skip Gates, Afghanistan, the health care debate - but I didn't think it would make much of a difference if I spouted off about it in this space. Hell, I didn't know if anyone was even listening.

But what i've discovered is, that concern is secondary.

About nine days ago, on Twitter (yes, I know; more on that later), I crossed paths with a young conservative. We were discussing one of my greatest political worries these days - the nutjobs like Chris Broughton who, inspired by even crazier nutjobs, bring guns and other weapons to events where Obama is appearing and, as we later discovered, openly pray for his death. My attitude was, and is, that I can discuss this with my fellow liberals, my fellow Olbermann/Maddow viewers, ad infinitum. Whatever you want to call them - Republicans, conservatives, #tcot - I'm not reaching that audience, the one that a) really needs to hear it; and b) may actually be able to do something to stop it, since the true wingnuts only listen to their own. (And yes, that goes for both the Right and Left.)

It was a long conversation, but the crux of it was this: when I asked the young man what he was doing, now, to quell the hatred on the Right that is stifling needed dialogue and (let's be real) threatening the life of the President. (All things that would have landed your face on a "Treason!" poster if done a year ago, against Bush 43. But I digress.)

He replied,
idrawrobots @JamilSmith oh believe me, I am just buying time. If and when I can raise my voice loud enough it will help bring true change

To say the least, I was unmoved.
JamilSmith @idrawrobots: "Buying time?" Are you fucking kidding me? When will you speak up against these RWNJs - after one takes a shot at POTUS? #tcot

The highlights of me taking his ass to task can be found here. I was angered not by his politics, but at his casual tone. As in, yeah, I'll get to that. Uninspiring, at the least. How can you see blatant injustice, have the unique power to speak to it, and not act?

Then I remembered this blog.

It's rare that we are given the opportunity to speak loudly, and it's even rarer when we make that opportunity for ourselves. Perhaps you'll interpret that last sentence as me going soft on that 24-year-old conservative for not speaking out. Hardly so. It's just that in reminding him of his responsibilities, I am also reminded of mine.

For the last four months, I've been "buying time". Perhaps for even longer than that. All the rally posts I have made in the past, including that one immediately preceding this one, were flailing grasps at the reason why I started writing here in the first place, like a rope just out of reach. Now, I believe that I've finally taken hold of it.

There are too many problems in the world for me not to use what I've been blessed with to try to solve them. Whether it be the insane paranoia on the Right or the panic and lack of backbone on the Left, I feel that there's a need for many, many voices. Add mine to the coming cacophony. I encourage you to add yours as well, reader, for there can never be enough people trying to make sense of the world we occupy. There really can't.

I hear many debates about the value of this kind of media. I think the real question is not about its value, but its purpose. I spent too much time worrying about the value of every post on this blog, and when I concerned myself too greatly with how my writing looked as opposed to what I was writing about. My purpose for starting this endeavor was much clearer: to provide a strong, educated opinion on issues confronting our world; to examine myself and grow as a writer; and to call the powers that be to account.

How I let worries about being reactionary, or whether people would understand what the hell "1,369 lightbulbs" even meant, break me, I'll always regret. I can't get those four months back. But I can move forward with purpose in my stride, pep in my step. I have work to do.

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