Party loyalty has got to go

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Friday September 8, 2006.

I wrote the following post today while ranting in my own head about a conversation I had earlier in the day. It’s definitely not as well written as I’d like it to be. It’s more of a stream of consciousness thing with a little bit of touch-up. Respond as you will, and say what’s on your mind. But come strong. No weak flames will be tolerated.

I talked to a friend today who’s on the inside. We discussed the players in this year’s election and what he knows about them and how he feels about them. It’s very interesting to be able to sit and chat with someone who really knows the game (I called it a game) and knows things that never get published. It’s also very interesting to know a few things that don’t get publised and why that is. But that’s not why I’m here today.

I asked him a few questions about the local blogs that have started covering the political scene. Mainly I wanted to know what he reads and what he knows about who’s behind a lot of the stuff. I wasn’t trying to figure out who the anonymous bloggers are or anything like that, but he did remark that he thinks one of them is also who I think it is (not who you think, so save it). We got into the discussion over what would be the best approach for a blog to take in positioning itself as a solid, fair outpost for statewide information. That’s when I went off. I wasn’t against what he said – in fact, we are on the same page almost entirely. I just started getting all into it and empassioned with my speechifying. See, I’m sick of blind loyalty to parties. But that’s all I seem to be able to find in the statewide blogs.

The biggest blogs in the north and the south, respectively, have a very obvious bent to their coverage of seemingly every political issue. The Gleaner’s Hugh Jackson and Reno and its Discontent’s Myrna the Minx have never met a Republican, or Republican policy, they liked (hyperbole on purpose, but seriously, you know it). On the flipside, Battle Born Opinion News’ editors seem to think that anyone left of the crazy, gay-hating Hansens is a flaming freaking liberal out to spend every dime you’ve ever made on your own back. All of it, of course, is ridiculous. What you get is the creation of that echo chamber effect where all you do is write for your audience and get reinforced in the comments. Occasionally there are disagreements, but mostly just over the degree of one commenter’s immersion in the party rhetoric.

But for some reason, it works. They all have readers, they all sell ads, and they all seem to write like they enjoy it.

At what point does someone fill the void in the middle – or if not the middle, at least bring the conversation to a place where both sides are welcome to participate? Is the proper way to go about it to be in the middle, or is it to have several writers, from hardline conservative to socialist, post on their own topics and invite conversation from there? I don’t know the answer. I do know that I’m sick of all the biggest and best that the state has to offer being schills for candidates and their respective parties. It’s tiresome. I’ve moved beyond that loyalty, even after pledging to myself at one point that I never would. Is that a sign of maturity, or stupidity? That’s an honest question.

I used to think that you voted with the party that overall represented your interests. Picking your best candidate was naive. Now I’m just ready to blow both parties up and start fresh. So I’m concerned with voting my conscience and moving on from there. And we start that on the state level. We’re still a small enough place that it’s possible.

How does a blog fit in? Is it impossible to have a blog that’s political and honestly fair? Or are all blogs going to eventually be pigeonholed into the right or left leaning categories? I’m not talking about newspaper blogs. They’re not allowed to have opinions, and they’re stopped from reporting on things that would really rile up the players. They have to stick to being reporters and making sure all the advertisers are not pissed off every time they write. Can anyone be the voice that pisses off all the players at once and still survive? We have to remember that access is important. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a dream from a really frustrated person who gets sick of seeing the same claptrap day in and day out from people that should be breaking new ground. Oh well.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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