With this post, I started blogging in this space eight years ago today. Time has truly flown.
As I look back over my posts from that first month, it’s interesting to see what issues were important then and where we are today.
- Norfolk will again have council elections this May. There are new faces representing Wards 1 and 5, both running for re-election, and the Ward 3 seat is an open one. My Ward 4 representative is the same and is running for re-election. I’ll have more on this later.
- The 2nd CD once again has Republican representation. And a Democratic challenger.
- America is still polarized – probably more so than 8 years ago – and constitutional originalism remains a hot topic.
- Virginia is still a Dillon Rule state, something we have to explain to newcomers on a regular basis. We finally have significant recount legislation that was put to good use twice in recent months, but Norfolk is still using machines that can’t really be recounted.
- Pat Robertson still shoots from the hip and national media still gets the story first.
- The marriage amendment passed the legislature for a second time and was headed to the fall ballot. It looks like the amendment will be held unconstitutional very soon.
One thing that is missing: when I starting blogging, there were many other blogs out there, covering Virginia politics. The Virginia Blog Carnival was a way of showcasing the very best posts from around the blogosphere. If you click on the link in that post, you will find that the host of that blog carnival is no longer around. That’s true of so many. The vibrancy that existed is gone, the diversity of opinion is gone. In many ways, that’s really sad. We all felt like we had something to say, and blogs gave us a way to express our independent opinions, separate from being just a mouthpiece for a party/candidate or to make money. I learned a lot about issues in those days from reading other blogs. These days, that’s pretty rare.
So why, after eight years, do I still try to write daily? Because I still have opinions. And, with the exception of an occasional USAToday piece, I’m still not getting paid for my opinions. I think the reasons why blogs started – to give anyone a platform to offer their opinion – is still valid. I had more time in the early days than I do now – which is why multiple posts a day are almost non-existent – and I often think of just shutting down, but there’s a little nagging reminder that prompts me to continue:
I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
Good ole TJ. Gets me every time.
UPDATE: Apparently, I’m not the only one who has recognized just how far the once active Virginia blogosphere has fallen. The Virginia Political Blogs blog aggregator, a source that I’ve used almost daily since it launched, is shutting down at the end of April, after an 8-year run.