There's something about holiday breaks that pushes me into a pondering mood. Back when I was CEO of a company, the day before going on vacation was always emotional for me. It felt as though I was leaving forever and wanted people to know how much I appreciated them. Looking back, it seems so fatalistic. I think I was worried about dying. On that happy note, my thoughts today flow in those two familiar directions, gratitude and anxiety.
On the gratitude front, I have so many things to be thankful for, it's hard to know where to start. My ever-tolerant wife, my amazing daughter and son. Great clients. The joy of writing. And this place called BlueNC. So just in case I don't come back, let me say thank you for participating. I'm never quite sure what we're doing here, but it's mostly rewarding and always interesting.
On the anxiety front, politics is getting me down. Maybe it's just the crush of forty years of intense activism, but it seems deeper than that. It's like I'm losing my bearings. Over the past few years especially, the sand seems to be shifting wildly under my feet.
In the early days of BlueNC, I was admittedly a bomb-thrower. In response to the idiocy of the worst president ever and his right-wing enablers here in North Carolina, I pretty much went postal. More recently, I've struck a kinder, gentler tone, blunting my natural edge in search of common ground. It's hard to say whether that has been a good thing or not. The level of participation at BlueNC has declined somewhat. Might be the electoral cycle; might be something weirder.
I'm also anxious about the elections coming up in May and next November. I worry that Democrats aren't doing enough to change a culture of corruption in Washington and in Raleigh. I worry that Republicans have lost every shred of integrity and are now willing to lie without restraint about anything needed to promote their agenda. I worry that the people of North Carolina are increasingly gullible and ignorant, happy to believe whatever lies suit their petty self-interest. I worry that god is on the wrong side.
Two rare bright spots on the horizon are the excellent candidates we have in the race to unseat Richard Burr. Kenneth Lewis is a deeply thoughtful person with an inspiring vision about what's needed in Washington. Elaine Marshall is a much-admired veteran of North Carolina politics, with a solid record of winning. It will be interesting to discover how they differ in terms of policy and philosophy.
I don't know exactly how BlueNC will evolve in the long run, but in the short run, I'm committed to three things personally. Clean, fair and honest participation in next year's elections. Respectful and challenging conversations. And just the right amount of moral outrage when necessary.
As I tell my center-left friends every chance I get, "It's my job is to make you all seem reasonable in comparison."
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.