My first thought when I realized that it really was time to quit blogging (which should have been a long time ago) was to go out on a profound note. So I began to review people I had read that impacted me most, and put together a list. I would come back and add an item here and there, and in doing that hit the “publish” button rather than “save draft.” So a mess of passing thoughts and names became post #2997. Following that came “Oops” down below, #2,998. I had not counted correctly. This is #2,999.
In my defense, I have to be in a certain writing format for WordPress to tell me the number of the post, and I seldom use that format. So I was just guessing at the sequence. So to be true to myself here, I have to go back and change the number sequence on older posts and add one more so that tomorrow’s post is correctly labeled #3,000. It is OK. I am never short of words.
I was born and raised in Montana. I was raised to be a Republican. As time progressed I began to realize the bankruptcy of that party, and so naturally did what all Americans are taught to do, join the “other” party. But the “other” party in Montana was led by Senator Max Baucus, a very unsavory man. I was in the habit of writing op-eds for the Billings Gazette at that time, and the editorial page editor was a nice, funny and tolerant man named Gary Svee. So some stuff got published under my name that is not ordinarily seen in newspapers. [Svee was replaced by a much more amenable and submissive gatekeeper, Pat Bellinghausen, and the paper’s editorial page is predictably bland. They must prefer that.]
One was a column criticizing Baucus, but not in the standard format. I was not a Republican going after a Democrat, the pro forma one-size-fits-all way we blabber on in our political system. I was a Democrat by that time, and was criticizing Baucus for being a disingenuous man, a liar. I called him our “faux bonhomme,” or false friend. That is pretentious I realize, as adding those two, the number of French words I knew became three. (The other: merde.)
As a result I got a visit from one of the truly genuine people I ever met in Montana politics, Chet Blaylock. (The others, a short list: Joan Hurdle and Tom Towe). He suggested if I was going to write things like that, I should man up and run for office.
I should not have, of course, but egos are powerful things. I was not a good politician. I mean no disrespect to politicians in that basis. It’s an art, this forming of coalitions among people who disagree and even dislike one another.
I lost, of course, deservedly. In mid-race, Chet died of a heart attack. Towe either quit or was term limited, I forget which, and we were left with some of the most cynical people on the planet, the current-day Montana Democratic Party. (It is so bad that even Mike Lange got up and left.)
Just an example, sitting in a candidates’ meeting (1996), the topic of discussion was a Republican gal with an Hispanic last name. Her opponent took her to task as we sat there. She angrily blurted out “She’s not Hispanic! She’s black!!!”
But that is politics. By its nature it attracts cynical people. They have to be to manipulate voters while serving powerful people. They have to lie. Only cynical people pull that off. If they are honest about their beliefs and intentions, as I was, they will automatically alienate half of any group of voters on any issue. Some, like Blaylock and Towe, could travel those waters and still maintain their dignity and actually accomplish worthy goals. That’s rare. (Joan Hurdle was an exceptional woman, honest and sincere, and surviving in that cesspool, but she was always in a gerrymandered minority, the south side of Billings.)
So I came to blogging in 2006 already having formed an opinion of Democrats, and nothing in blogging has swayed my view. And it’s infuriating. In America we are only given two choices. People of more noble intent, less driven by money and prejudice than Republicans, have no choice but to be Democrats. Democrats ought to make it worth our while. They ought to offer something better. But they don’t.
Tomorrow I am going to write a very short post that highlights one very profound statement that has shaped my thinking over the years, coming from, of all sources, Ayn Rand. Today, for #2,999, I offer four words that have driven me in the blogging world and caused so much rancor and banning and all the other nonsense that goes on in these little fiefdoms. I say them, I repeat them constantly, because they are true.
Democrats are the problem.
Montana Cowgirl, a Democrat-financed blog, states in its banner that it is the “online voice of the left in Montana,” citing the Billings Gazette. More than just being a lie, it is also creepy and disgusting. But that is the abject cynicism I referred to above.