Not long ago a friend and fellow blogger posted an interesting comment on Facebook – “Where I Get My Blog Post Ideas.” So it got me to thinking. Why do I write what I do and when? It has never been that much of a problem. Since I first began this blog eight years ago today, I have posted 381 times. I have written about whatever strikes my fancy at any particular moment. Sometimes it is something I read or heard. Or perhaps a commentary on a recent road trip or some place I had visited. A recollection of some event in my earlier life. Maybe a response to something I ate or drank. Or perhaps something purely whimsical. Some posts were outlined before they were written; others have been raw and spontaneous. This is what makes a blog so interesting and challenging. You write what you want, when you want, and there is no editor to tell you "No thanks." This is why, until now, I have called these postings "random notes from the edge of America." I have always thought of the edge of America in geographical terms, writing as I am most of the time along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. I was always Looking Toward Portugal in the quest for something new and interesting to write about.
On rare occasions I have proffered a political or cultural commentary. I have tried to steer clear of these as much as possible; I don’t expect my readers to believe what I believe or think what I think. I simply want to expand civilized debate. But every once in a blue moon I can’t help myself. Something so egregious occurs that there is no place for debate. Evil in every guise requires a full throated condemnation. No mincing of words.
More recently these censures have addressed the growing attacks on free speech in Turkey where journalists and secular politicians have been jailed or worse. Here at home there have been the broadening attacks on the LGBT community in North Carolina and elsewhere. Many of you may have noticed a rather atypical silence during my long annual summer hiatus in Maine this year. I took a deep look inward as I observed the vicious election rhetoric coupled with the rise of authoritarian populism (Fascism for a lack of a better term) and demagoguery throughout Europe, as well as here in the United States. How am I to respond to these disturbing developments? And should I do so here?
Perhaps this is no longer a time for random jottings about everything or nothing at all. Times have become too uncertain . . . even dangerous . . . .to entertain whimsy. And now, as I look at the turn of events in my own country following the recent election, I recognize the need to speak out clearly about injustices and cultural crimes emerging from the shadows here at home. I wish this were not the case, but the future does not bode well for democracy in the American republic. Now I suddenly find myself on the cultural and political fringes of my American homeland when my own rights, and those of many of my friends and colleagues, are being infringed upon and threatened from within.
So I beg your patience if and when such polemics rise to the surface. I will try to reign in my horses as best I can, but sometime things need to be said as directly and to the point as possible so that there is no confusion as to where I stand. Again, I offer these to you only as food for thought. Nothing more. Take them for what they are worth.
As I noted in my Thanksgiving greetings yesterday, I shall continue to strive to share my impressions of those things that bind us in the American experience; places and events that exist regardless of one’s political sentiment. We still have that in common . . . at least for now. Let us pray no one tries to take this from us. That is when we will man the barricades and the real revolution will begin!
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