I let the 19th anniversary of this blog pass without a post. I haven't had the energy to really add to this blog in quite a while, as most of my time has been spent with my novel writing, and on social media (and, frankly, far too much social media). It's also true that blogs, these days, have become incredibly passe, and the online contacts happen far more on social media, including some platforms I barely understand, but which both my kids are fluent in.
It probably makes more sense to completely rethink this site from the ground up, possibly even launching a clean slate at a different domain (I do own the domain jamesbow.ca). I may do that, but I'm reluctant to just shut this place down, and not just because I may come back the next time I have a book to promote.
I've spent over nineteen years crafting this blog, and it has helped build my skills and confidence as a writer. And, in the early days, the community that this blog gave me access to helped build me up as a person, giving me new friends, and honing my political arguments as well as enhancing my writing skills. You wouldn't expect me to toss out my old photographs, even if most of my new ones are being uploaded directly to my computer, would you?
And as I look back on the old posts, it's remarkable how much the world has developed since those early days, both in good ways or bad. If you want to know where Trump came from, and how idiots defy reality about climate change, vaccines and the need to take precautions during a pandemic, you see some of it in the early days of blogging. I've talked about how various political elements, but particularly those on the hard right, such as with the Republican party, started to value winning over good governance. I've talked about the disturbing rise in eliminationist rhetoric, like "liberal hunting permits", "second amendment actions", and how political actors liken their opponents not as human beings with reasonable disagreements, but as enemies who can't be reasoned with. As traitors. As subhuman.
True, this playbook arguably started picking up in the mid-1990s with Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America" where political compromise was explicitly derided as "selling out", but in certain political blogging circles, this really took root following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with people questioning the drive for war with Iraq labelled as "objectively pro-Saddam", and people calling for more cautious approaches in Afghanistan accused of supporting terrorists.
Now, the conservative-leaning friends that I know today I gained through blogging. These individuals were exceptional in that they embraced the best of what blogging promised: a democratized-forum where everybody with an opinion had an opportunity to express that opinion and express it well. And they expressed it well. The Canadian political blogosphere encouraged this, somewhat, by lumping Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic and Green supporters together. Though there were associations like the Blogging Tories, many readers and writers mixed pretty freely with the Progressive Bloggers, and my Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians was welcomed with open arms.
These friends of mine, conservative and otherwise, now stand back and watch while the crazies dominate the noise. You don't get any sense of camaraderie between political points of view on Twitter; most people either nod or troll. The noise is discouraging, but the friends I've gained are not. They are the big reason why I'm keeping this blog up as, I hope, a testament that blogging had, and has, value.
This is where I'll leave this blog for a little while, barring story ideas that take my fancy, or new events that I need to promote. I'm pretty sure you folks know where else to find me, and I'll see you there.