Over the years, I have had others try to tell me how to blog and what to blog.
What they fail to understand is that just like anyone who writes, you develop a style that becomes distinctive and that differentiates you from others who engage in that type of writing, because let's face it; blogging is writing.
With that said, it has also been suggested to me on occasion that I shouldn't blog about politics at a fire service website, because it isn't about fire service issues.
Really? The fire service in our country has no ties to politics? That is absurd.
First of all, I blog on a wide range of subjects/issues.
When a fire service issue strikes me, I will blog about it, as I have. The funny thing is that there are several bloggers who blog at the many fire blog sites about fire service issues-many on the SAME issues. How many ways can you say the same thing and make it interesting?
I know a few can bring different perspectives to the same issue, but in the end, they pretty much beat a dead horse, don't they?
Now more than ever, politics is having negative impacts on many of us.
And if politics isn't impacting the fire service, then why do we have so many lobbyists lobbying for fire service legislation and why is so much money being donated to political candidates by fire service organizations, including unions?
I know why many shy away from political discussions.
It's because of emotion and sometimes, raw emotion.
You see; it's hard to convince someone to change their political views and even harder to get someone to change their political party.
When we decide that we like and support certain politicians from the various political parties, we want to believe that we have made an intelligent decision and when someone else challenges us on our choices, we believe that our intelligence is being questioned. So; we get emotional and take it as a personal attack.
When the dust has settled, a discussion has degenerated into an argument and the argument degenerates further into a verbal brawl.
That makes it very unpleasant for someone willing to state their political position.
I GET IT!
But, if we don't state our views, then we have become sheep, willing to place our fates into the hands of people bought and paid for by OUR tax dollars and I'm sorry, but that's not how I want to live.
The fact is that government and the politicians who populate it have become the problem.
Because the fire service thought that they would always come first; that they would be taken care of by our government and the politicians.
Take a look at how many firefighters have entered the political arena just in the past ten years and it should answer your questions about why I, for one, blog about politics. Firefighters are getting more involved in the political process to protect what we still have; to preserve the programs that we have fought so hard to get and to further define that linkage between our core missions and our governments; local, state and federal.
Is that the current climate that the fire service enjoys? I don't think so and here's why:
WE let it happen. America let it happen.
We were so naive to believe that our elected officials would make their decisions in our best interests. We became so jaded and detached from the process that we ALLOWED the politicians to work the system to their best advantage, putting us all at an extreme disadvantage.
The politicians have devised a process that is so convoluted and so complex that many of us no longer see a government that is working for the people. We see elitists who are telling us that we don't understand how government works, which is exactly how they devised it.
If you ever took a civics class, you know how government should work; at least in theory.
America has sat by for too long and allowed political parties to write rules that marginalize the other side. Representative government has become government by the party in power.
Any hope that we have of fixing the mounting problems in this country are lost in the rules that have stacked the deck against compromise. Too much time and energy has been spent on parties beating the other into submission and because of that, we have a government sitting idle in gridlock. We have representatives scared to do the right thing, because their re-election is at stake and in order to get their golden parachute when they leave office, they will go with the Washington establishment. They can go back to their constituents and make a litany of excuses that will convince their voters that they are working hard for them in Washington!
I am a registered Republican and I will not apologize for it.
However; I am prepared to vote out those who were obstructionists at a time when we needed solutions for our debt crisis and high unemployment. Even though I understand the parties' political platform, I also believe that opposing political parties can reach agreement without violating a party's base.
And to take this article full circle...
If you believe that blogging about politics doesn't belong at a fire service website; I have two words for you.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.