The End of the Line
Regular readers have doubtlessly noticed that my frequency of posts has greatly decreased. This has partly been due to my family’s cross-country move. But it’s mainly been due to what you could call blog-out. Yep, I’m fried.
Political blogging is a consuming hobby. Unlike collecting stamps or gardening or writing poetry, there is an unceasing immediacy to blogging. To keep the reader traffic flowing, to keep getting quoted on the cable news channels, to keep getting linked by bigger blogs, you gotta keep writing. Slow down and you lose readers. And readers are the point for most of us. Without readers, you might as well be writing in your diary.
At first, the pace was exhilarating. But then it became burdensome. It cuts into my job during the day which means my job cuts into my time with my family in the evening. And that’s just the effect it has on the allocation of my time. Blogging also creeps unwanted into my mind, alters my perceptions of the world. Every event becomes a source for commentary. Every news story a debate just waiting for bloggers to draw the lines.
Now, I love good debate. That’s why I changed the format of this blog to focus more on ideas and less on news. But, you know, not everything in life is a debate. Not every world event is a chance to pick sides. Some things just are. And sometimes reactions just need to be left raw. To debate can be to eviscerate.
And to say blogging is a form of debate is giving most who practice in the medium too much credit. There are extremely good blogs out there, but most blogs are just noise. Most bloggers aren’t citizen journalists or even citizen essayists. They are citizen spin doctors. They aren’t debating ideas. They’re spinning the truth. They’re wasting their intelligence and time trying to force every event, every moment into their pre-conceived notion of the world. They don’t want to add to the national debate. They want to keep debate from ever happening.
Sometimes I think too many people in this country have stopped trying to change the world and are now just trying to redefine its truths.
We created The Yellow Line as an attempt to battle that trend. I’m not claiming a purity of vision. All I’m claiming is that Joe and I (and those who’ve joined us) have made an honest attempt to keep truths as truths and our opinions as opinions—and we’ve tried not to mingle or purposefully confuse the two. We haven’t always succeeded, but we’ve always made the effort.
Yet I have come to wonder if being a tiny voice for reason in the blogoshpere din is worth the tremendous personal effort that goes into this blog. I wonder what real effect I can actually have here and what price I’d have to pay to achieve it. I wonder if blogging is the best way for me to make a difference. And I wonder if I can achieve much more good with my time by focusing on other paths.
So, after a little less than six months of blogging, I am retiring. The Yellow Line will stay alive should all the contributors who post here want to continue to use this forum. But I’m done with blogging for now.
I want to thank all those who’ve read my words and all those who have taken the time to comment intelligently on them. My frustrations with the form of blogging are only a small reason why I’ve made this decision. The primary reason is my want and need to spend my time differently. And while I am highly critical of many bloggers, I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect for the writers who contribute to The Yellow Line—they are what’s right with the form.
Unfortunately, I no longer have the energy or will to join them.
I will leave with this last comment: Our political system is in serious trouble. The vast majority of leaders produced by our parties are partisan hacks more interested in political power than in governing wisely or even well. We need change. And the people, I’m convinced, want that change. Not just minor adjustments, but fundamental change.
I think the time for talk is quickly passing. It’s now time to act. I’m not sure what that means for me, but I know it will include me in some form or fashion. I may be leaving this blog, but I’m not giving up on the fight.
I’ll see y’all around.