On most weekdays for the past nine years, I’ve gotten out of bed, usually around six o’clock or so, scanned social media, checked a few websites, and then written about 500 words, usually before 10am. (In the beginning, I read the newspaper, but I haven’t had an N&O subscription in at least a couple of years.) I write about whatever comes to mind. Sometimes, it’s been something that’s been stewing for a while, but usually, it’s just my reaction to the news concerning North Carolina politics.
I started writing because I didn’t think the media was adequately explaining what was happening to North Carolina after Republicans captured both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s Mansion. Democrats, for their part, didn’t know how to respond to the sea change in our government and our politics. They had no idea how to be a minority party. I was frustrated watching the situation, so I put up a website and started posting my thoughts on PoliticsNC.
It took off pretty quickly. Moral Mondays started a few weeks after I launched PoliticsNC and the national media was down here looking for information. The blog became a go-to source and social media made it explode. By the fall of 2013, PoliticsNC had about 20,000 readers per month. Over time, readership settled down to about 12,000 individuals per month with spikes during elections and during politically-charged moments. That’s roughly where it’s stayed.
It’s been a good run, but it’s time to take a break. Over the past few months, I’ve struggled to write in the mornings. The blog has become more a chore than a passion. I don’t know that I’ve added much to the public debate or made many significant observations lately. My focus has shifted more to the broader political environment than just what’s happening in North Carolina.
I’ve also had signs from the universe that I need to at least give it a rest. Last month, my site became the victim of a credit card scam that has, so far, cost me more than $2,000. I’ve had to shut down credit card contributions and I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new vendor. While my overhead is low for a small business, PoliticsNC does need a few thousand dollars a year to operate. The money I will spend straightening out the mess will leave me at a deficit for 2022. The blog is too much work to lose money.
I don’t want to shut PoliticsNC down for good and will likely post periodically, just less regularly. I hope Alex Jones will continue to write and I’ll entertain submissions from other people who have interesting things to say. But, at least for now, I want a break from the obligation of posting every day, or even every other day.
While I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, PoliticsNC gave me the discipline to make it a practice. I don’t want to give that up. I just want to write about other things for a while. I’ve had an idea for a book that I’ve been turning over in my head for the past few years. I’d like to give that a shot. I’ve got a novel that needs to be rewritten—and probably rewritten after that. I want to expand my writing horizons.
I can’t stop following or thinking about politics, so when I want to say something, I’ll write it and post it. Maybe it’s once or twice a week. Maybe it’s just every few weeks. I don’t know right now. I just don’t want the pressure of posting every day.
Politics has also changed dramatically since I started the blog. We are a far more divided nation and we’re at a precarious point in our history. I’m dismayed by both of our political parties. The GOP has devolved into an autocratic and authoritarian party in thrall of a conman. The Democrats are divided by a left that’s totally out of touch with mainstream America and an establishment that is ancient and inept. One party seems hell-bent on ending our democracy and the other is too incompetent to stop it.
The stakes are bigger than just Democrats versus Republicans. I find myself cheering for people on both sides who might be willing to stop our disturbing slide into autocracy and dysfunction. I admire Senator Thom Tillis for taking the lead to rid our state of Madison Cawthorn. I think Governor Roy Cooper understands how to make government work at a time when too few leaders seem to get it. I believe Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is a national hero and we should all be pulling for him in his primary. N.C. House Minority leader Robert Reives is quietly making Democrats in the house more effective than at any time since they lost power more than a decade ago. And there are more good people in politics who we should raise up at a time when the goal of most politics is to tear down.
I don’t believe we can go back to the politics of post-war America, but we need to find people who can lead us to a new way of working as a country. We need to find a center that leads by consensus instead of being driven by fringes out to destroy each other. I don’t know the way forward, but it will likely take reform of our political system and compromise that neither side seems willing to reach.
I won’t stop thinking or writing about these concerns, but I need to do it at a new pace. This summer, I want to slow down. I’m going to see my grandson in Sweden and I’d like to take more than a few trips to the mountains to beat the heat. I’ll post when I feel like it and won’t when I don’t. Maybe in the fall, I’ll get back to the routine, but, for now, I’m not going to think too much about that .
I thank everyone for reading all of these years. It’s been a helluva ride. Have a great summer.