Writing to be read is always an adventure. You put your time and effort into something for public consumption, and you're never sure what their reaction is going to be. Positive or negative doesn't necessarily play into it, it's more of a question of direction. What will this cause people to think? What will their own perspective lead them to read into it or take away from it?
It's funny, because those of you who have been reading my work before I started covering local politics know that I write about anything and everything I have an opinion on. I wrote a piece about the Tennessee and Northern Virginia battle flags a few weeks back, and one person who only knows me for my local coverage said -- nay, demanded! -- that I should do myself a favor and "stick with your local politics rants." (My simple answer? "No.")
Or, for example, my coverage of the Rick Rose and Duke Anderson scandals. Aside from a few in Rickie's camp attempting to intimidate me out of bringing you the facts -- even his wife going so far as to wrongfully accuse me of "slander" -- I have received an outpouring of support the likes of which I never could have imagined.
And the fun part has been watching everyone start asking questions. Even the questions that are way off-base or only half-informed. That's okay! That's a good thing! Not that people don't have all the information, but that people want the information, that they're looking for the information. Asking questions is how things change and progress is made. Asking questions gets things done.
That's something that my mother taught me, and it's been both a blessing and a curse. She will happily tell you that her own mother had told her that, one day, she'd have a kid just like herself.
She got three, and we've all been driving her up the wall ever since.
That's because she instilled in all of us the desire to ask questions. Why is the sky blue? What causes photosynthesis? How does the computer's operating system work?
(She really regretted that last one.)
It's that same desire that drives me to write, because after I ask questions, I learn facts, and I form opinions, and I want to share what I've learned and the conclusions that I've come to so that, at the very least, we can come to an understanding of where we all agree and disagree. I'm not looking for any great universal truth or anything here, I just want us to make informed decisions... on any topic. If I have a thought about it, I can write about it, and hopefully, we can talk about it.
And if it seems like I'm rambling here; that my mind is wandering... you're right!
I have this thing called obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. It's not what you think it is. It basically means that my brain has two settings: single-topic mode or EVERY-topic mode. Moreso than most people. I'll lock onto something for a while and practically everything else will be ignored. Then the switch flips and my mind will just wander from topic to topic and not be able to lock on to anything. I never know when one side or the other will take over, and yes, it can be detrimental.
But after thirty years of life, I've learned how to use my OCPD to my advantage. It allows me to ask more questions about a variety of topics when I'm not locked-in on just one. When I'm more focused on a certain topic, it's generally because I'm interested in that topic, and I ask more questions about that topic specifically. So, in essence, I'm either going to go in-depth on something or I'm going to simply get the relevant facts straight and make a call. And the good news is that, even when I'm not hyper-focused, I can turn my attention to matters related to the topic I should be focused on.
All that said, this is one of those weeks when we don't really have a whole lot to talk about locally. Things are running better than they have been in years at City Hall, and while there are still plenty of issues left to be resolved, this week's meeting left me thinking little more than, "good job, folks. Keep it up." And it's in weeks like this that my mind will wander to plenty of other matters that I'd love to hear and read your perspectives on.
We're not going to agree on all of them, and that's okay. We don't agree on all local issues, either.
For example, I haven't even touched the same-sex marriage ruling (which was the correct one) in this space, though we've certainly talked about it on Facebook.
There continues to be a horrendous epidemic of murders of transgender women in this country, most recently India Clarke in Tampa, who is the tenth identified this year... and I say "identified" because those are just the few we know about. There are likely more who are misgendered by their family, police and the media, and are kept quiet about.
There continues to be a horrific epidemic of suicide amongst transgender youth, who feel that it's the only way out because their family and communities reject them simply for a biological trait that they cannot change. There was one such suicide recently right here in Michigan, that of Sam Taub, whose mother and stepfather are clearly a part of the problem.
The Sandra Bland case -- in which Texas police lynched a woman and are attempting to claim it was suicide after they wrongfully arrested and jailed her for absolutely nothing at all -- took another insane twist as police removed and replaced an obviously edited dashcam video of the stop because they claimed the edited video was not edited but was "corrupted" during upload. (I work with video, and corrupted uploads do not loop as seen in that footage.)
Hillary Clinton is corrupt as hell (I have no link there, it's simply common knowledge), and the Democrat base is proving in the polls that they are, too.
CBS Radio is firing people left and right, and people in the industry still refuse to admit that the last great radio company is getting out of radio.
The record industry still has its head up its ass when it comes to the Internet (and most other things).
And, of course, my beloved Miami Marlins, getting swept by the Phillies, proved once again that, even when they're not the worst team in baseball, they're still the worst team in baseball (and we can thank Jeffrey Loria for all of our woes).
Then there's the amazing Women's World Cup victory, the confused and confusing Iran nuclear deal, the simultaneously hilarious and sad fact that The Onion broke a real international news story, and the glorious return of Bloom County.
Oh, yes, I pay attention to pretty much everything I can.
That and the fact that I was burning myself out by trying to write both a news and opinion piece for the same publishing date is what has led me to move these opinion columns to Fridays instead of Wednesdays. Because even though I've had 30 years to learn how to use my OCPD to my advantage, learning how to work around it is a constant process with every new situation that comes into my life.
I guess what I'm really trying to say here is, my mind wanders.
And I would enjoy it if you would wander with me.