Turn and face the strange.
You ever feel as if you’d had to face the strange just one too many times? I love that line from David Bowie’s song, “Changes.” Since 2008 I think I’ve done nothing but exactly that.
At the end of summer that year our daughter had just graduated from college and our son from high school. I anticipated down time and uneventful days. Then in September of 2008 the economy crashed, and the bottom began to fall out of our lives. My husband’s new business stalled out, and despite our efforts to keep it going he had to shut it down. I know others faced the same strange as businesses closed and empty store fronts multiplied.
We moved towards the end of 2009, and looking for work became a full time job. If you’ve been there, then you know the up-and-down disjointed journey of resumes, applications, and interviews. We went to workshops to sharpen our job seeking skills, and became experts at shuffling paragraphs in cover letters to match qualifications to job openings. Competition was stiff in our town, and it was a long slogging haul with some severe—to put it mildly—disappointments.
Blogging became a work at hand that I could do. I’d blogged with groups at a couple of political sites, and in 2010 I started a site for Christian women. In 2012 I started Upstream Politics because I love history and I went to college with the Left back in the late 60’s–early 70’s so I know some of what they’re up to now that they wear suits in D.C. I’m also a wife and a mom, and since the home front is where hot spots can be hottest in politics, I thought I had a few things I could say.
There was wear and tear. Dealing with tough issues is one thing, and doing it while my husband and I were looking for work is another. Meanwhile our kids plugged on. Our son went through college on a scholarship, worked part-time, and was a teaching assistant. Our daughter worked at whatever she could find to do. Some people helped and encouraged and were invaluable to us as a safety net, and some were not—again, to put it mildly!
In May of 2013 our son graduated from college, was commissioned in the Army National Guard, and was married. In June he and his new wife moved to another state and he began a new job. After months of interviews, in July my husband began a new job in another region of the country, and we moved from the Southeast to the Southwest—from the Sunshine State to the Lone Star State. He was there for several months before I was able to join him in November. Our daughter’s job underemployed her, and she came in December just before Christmas to see what the Southwest had to offer. After making it past Heartbreak Hill in our personal Boston Marathon, I was exhausted when we crossed that finish line.
A few weeks ago I read a post written by William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection on blogger burnout subtitled, Please don’t let me be that person. Two paragraphs he included from a previous post started me thinking.
Independent conservative bloggers are a dying breed, I’m sorry to say. They either burnout, or they join an established website.
Yet the walls still have to be guarded by independent bloggers who bear a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom, and while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall.
When I started reading and commenting on blogs over ten years ago there really were more independent bloggers. Not only has there been burnout, but I’ve noticed there’s a gap where the walls are breached and few are there to build it up and guard it. You can find bloggers on the right who speak to abortion, education, economics, foreign policy, and the encroachment and expansion of government, but the weakest spot on the wall is marriage.
Most of the blogs I’ve seen that defend marriage are part of organizations. Larger blogs on the political right seem to have mixed opinions on marriage, and at some the dominant voice belongs to those in favor of redefining marriage. Blogs persist in calling themselves conservative when there’s nothing at all conservative about jettisoning the millennium old understanding of marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
As I mentioned two years ago I’m not an academic or attorney, but I do have the perspective and experience of many years of learning to love and speak the truth as I grasped the nettle of controversy and disagreement over the homosexual lifestyle. I learned my brother was in the gay lifestyle in 1975, and I spent twenty years until he died of AIDS in 1995 loving him and trying to understand him. Through his suicide attempt in the late 70′s and through the death of several partners to AIDS he knew that I deeply loved him. In the midst of a liberal family, this conservative, evangelical woman was the one to whom he turned in his times of trouble.
After his death I didn’t expect to return to this particular debate, but because of those years I know the importance of truth, and I know there are consequences of going with the easy flow and not considering the rocks and rapids you’ll hit downstream. His death was twenty years ago, and so the years now total of forty during which I’ve been thinking and reading and talking about the lives of those who experience same-sex attraction. I can give you those years.
Another change here is a new look for Upstream Politics. It was time for an update, and I wanted a theme that would be responsive to whatever device you’re using to read, whether mobile, tablet, or desktop. I’ve moved a few things around, and added some links in the sidebar to new people I’m reading. The photo of the River Wharfe in the sidebar is now also the background. I put the photo of the toddlers playing hopscotch as a continual reminder of Sir Francis Bacon’s words:
Yet it were great reason that those that have children, should have greatest care of future times; unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges.