...this blog kills fascists...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

First Thorn Thrown

In the months since I've shifted my writing focus from literary fiction to political matters and begun publishing opinion pieces in the papers down here in Mississippi, I've become a lightening rod of sorts. When Buzzflash links to one of my pieces, the emails flow in, but that's not what I mean. Buzzflash readers are the choir, after all. It's the people I speak to from around Mississippi that I speak of. The level of vitriol felt, even here in the reddest of red states, against this president is startling.

Of course, as you'd expect, those who feel this way are a minority. So many around the South will stand by Bush no matter what. He's equated with love of God and country and if you question why, you'r as likely to get a red and roaring response as a quizzical stare. It is, as the media is so often telling us, a very polarized atmosphere. I can only assume it will grow more so.

But, as I say, I do hear from people, people happy to see their own thoughts voiced in print. The problem with newspaper publishing for a freelance writer though, is that there is no regular outlet. While I'm an avid reader of some wonderful blogs, and I am producing much more than is finding its way into print, I've had a hard time shaking my fiction-writer's mentality, requiring third-party publication as validation. Without the ink, I thought, there's no reason anyone would read. Add the fact that the Web is full of very capable bloggers with greater proximity to both sources and events than I, and it just never made practical sense for me to launch my own.

That was then. The responses I've received to my editorials have been so heartening, thoughtful, and encouraging that I've decided to give this a go. We'll see if anyone is listening and if I have anything to add to the debate. I think I might, and seeing as how the coming months are nothing less than Zero Hour for America, when push has come to shove, I've convinced myself it's my duty as well.

Also, and I'm afraid this won't come as a surprise to anyone, the sad truth is that there are limits to what you can say within the confines of the Op-Ed page. If you ever want to see print, that is.There's only so far even the most adventurous editor will go. With the stakes so high, and make no mistake but that they are, it's crucial to have an entirely unfiltered public outlet. So, in the spirit of truth, I give you The Thorn Papers, my own meager attempt to keep America's eye on the ball, to keep the facts out in the open and up for debate. We're in a fight for our lives here. Never forget it.

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