Breaking Away

Bookshelf books, photo by Alien Motives

I’m leaving for a week.

I could point out that I’ve had no “break” since the board started. During our run, there has been no day without me writing a piece for the board or something I’ve previously written posting. I could blame the persistent tendonitis which has developed in my right elbow. I might explain it via the steady dwindling of available resources as I allocate an hour or three every day here instead of getting books listed – listings which fuel sales and provide funds for my family.

Mostly it’s because I feel like I’m out of step with most of the regular commenters.

I’ve noticed a pattern, and it’s not pleasant. I start every Monday with a bit of hope and enthusiasm, and by Friday I’m feeling beaten down. This is almost entirely due to the board. I have gone back and looked at some of the earliest posts I wrote, and for the most part they are things I would write today. I haven’t changed, and neither have most of the contributors or posters… unlike, say, Strident Conservative which used to be firmly set against conspiracy theory and in our link list or Positive Heartbeat which was an unofficial “sister board” for the religiously-focused who had decided to walk away from The Right Scoop. (I still love Duckie, but PH has drifted from mostly anti-Trump conservatives with some Trumpers in the mix to full-blown conspiracy nuttery, a mix of religion and patriotism with giant dashes of “the installed President” and COVID-19 microchipping.)

What happened on PH has been reflected in a lot of personal lives. The reason most people are here is because they were raised in activist families and have activist friends. That has resulted in many strained or broken relationships – lost friendships, inability to speak with parents or siblings, even destroyed marriages.

Meanwhile, I’m over here with a couple of cousins who I mock and a single Trumpy friend who refuses to let politics damage our friendship. My wife is a classical liberal who leans Libertarian and her Facebook feed is full of centrist and hard left Democrats who she’s watched become steadily more radicalized. Their radical fringe is growing, and it’s growing in the exact way that the nativist fringe grew in the Republican party, and imagining that it still constitutes a minute percentage of the Democratic party is wrong.

So, that’s the perspective at which I’m approaching things, and it’s one which isn’t mirrored by everyone. I expect that. But I’d also become used to a fairly strong level of support, and that’s drifted away. Between one topic or another – refusing to sign on to the notion that police abuse is systemic and widespread, pushing back against the belief that the postal system was being weaponized, rejecting the idea that the binary option was the only viable way forward even in non-swing states – I’ve found myself at odds with a bunch of people.

It’s a little surprising to recognize how much the little “upticks” and “agree” can mean, but I notice things. I still don’t care about reaction to any particular item, but there are many people who I’ve alienated, and it shows. People who used to regularly give a little positive recognition to most of my posts now rarely flag anything I write, and I naturally extrapolate from that a feeling of general disfavor toward me. The sensation is bolstered when most of the comments I get from some people are combative, and it’s a bit depressing because in nearly all of these cases I still like the people who no longer like me. I’m not willing to change for them – I don’t change my opinion for anyone other than perhaps my wife and daughter – but I notice it. When combined with the loss of generally like-minded voices like Lenny, TeresaAK and PolarBearPapa, TEE, BigJohn, Conservator1 and others, I’ve been feeling a bit isolated. (And to the handful who have continued to generally have my back while still disagreeing on a handful of points, it’s been greatly appreciated.)

As I said, though, I don’t change. Right now, the comment sections are filled daily with reactions to whatever the Republicans are saying, as if they were currently in any sort of power. That’s driven by the previously mentioned point that people are seeing their relatives and friends continue to push the crazed gibberish that people like Moron: the Griftering and Steve Deace and Ted Chinweasel (no offense to actual weasels) are spewing. But I’m ready to move forward and focus on addressing the policy that’s going to affect the lives of me, my family and my friends, and that’s the policy of the Democrats who control both segments of Congress and the Presidency.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing. After a one week break, to try to “reset” myself and find the enjoyment I used to get from the board despite the general drift in perspectives. After that time, I’ll be taking over the weekend slots that my wife has been pulling to help out… my wife who rarely bothers to visit because, as much as she loves debating policy, she doesn’t know many Republicans outside of the ones from my circle and she certainly doesn’t care what the crazies think. That’s currently projected for just one week, to give her a break and to help her work on a story for an anthology she’s trying to get into. Writing for the board and a kiddo doing home school has tanked her professional output, and I’m trying to push her back toward the paying sales.

Then I expect to be back, hopefully for the extended duration.

In the meantime, I appreciate Halo stepping in, and likely Steve and Gretchen. I continue to thank Tiff for all she does to keep this place going, and Beth who has constantly pushed through despite health problems and her own drift away from the board toward Twitter. I’m very appreciative of Richard for not simply jumping in with some Night Owl posts to help out but instead matching me one-for-one for more than a year and almost always producing work that bests mine. I didn’t want to ask any of them to step in and cover even more of the load just because I felt the need for a week away, and happily it wasn’t necessary.

If anyone else wants to contribute a piece or step in as a regular, though, they’re strongly encouraged to do so. This would be a perfect week for you to have your thoughts heard.

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.