As I so frequently say during our fundraisers, it’s your contributions that not only allow me to pay the regular contributors here at Eclectablog a small token for their creative output, but also make it possible for me to bring on new writers. Last week, in a bit of a “soft launch”, we published the first piece by our newest Eclectablogger Judy Matlock.
I first met Judy in the comments section of Eclectablog. While we have many terrific commenters on this site, Judy’s comments stood out from the others. They showed a level of “insight with an edge” that got my attention. That was three years ago and for the last two years, Judy has been the most prolific commenter on Eclectablog, something that has improved the site tremendously in my mind.
After a recent comment that I found particularly compelling, I sent Judy an email that said simply, “Would you like to write for Eclectablog?” She thought I was poking fun at her frequent commenting and promised to rein it in. I finally convinced her that I was entirely serious and now she will be publishing a post once a week.
I asked Judy to answer a few questions to introduce herself to our readers. Later this morning, we’ll publish her second post. Once again, please welcome Judy to Eclectablog.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your history in politics and writing.
My first political impulse came when I was in the fifth grade and clashed powerfully with our music teacher whose wanton cruelty toward three of my classmates somehow forced me to my feet and gave me an admonishing voice that startled me as much as it clearly horrified her. My outburst got me a speedy escort propulsion to the principal’s office. The end result of the visit was surprising: my personal vindication by the principal and an end to this teacher’s nasty humiliations during our class. That’s when I realized that power and authority could be confronted successfully and intolerable things could be changed. Later I went on to hold elected offices in high school where I learned that changing things was much tougher but not impossible. And finally, in the larger adult world, it was painfully clear that barriers to positive change were entrenched and well-fortified by political interests.
During college I was a Young Republican and remember being thrilled to see a campaigning Richard Nixon at a whistle stop at the Ann Arbor railroad station in 1960. After he later flamed out with Watergate, I supported third party candidates for president and Democratic candidates locally. In 2000 I wanted John McCain to win the Republican primary so I could vote for a “kind of” Republican once again, but the W-Bush campaign laid their despicable smear on John McCain in South Carolina and I realized then the GOP had become irredeemably toxic and soulless. It had become a party of wicked, mean spirited fifth grade music teachers. I could no longer vote for any of them, but I could call them out. And so I do.
You have been the most prolific commenter on Eclectablog for two years running. What brought you to Eclectablog in the first place?
The past 15 years of national bad conduct have kept me reading, meeting, writing and working on the campaigns of Democrats in hopes of helping to neutralize the Republicans’ damage to the lives of the poor, working class, and minorities. In other words: the majority of Americans. I found Eclectablog via Daily Kos and appreciated the focus on Michigan, the quality of the writing, and the contributors’ well-placed concerns about the lurching and gear locking of our democracy and the right wing threats to the institutions that have been the traditional infrastructure of that democracy.
Most entries on Eclectablog pique my responses. I remain surprised that some of my comments have resonated because I’m basically a sideline observer who likes to keep the discussion going by questioning or making provocative and sometimes irreverent remarks. I like to think that people who would read my commentary are those who are curious about what sidles and squirms under big rocks and who like to examine such things under various lights and from different angles, and maybe even poke a stick or two when necessary.
Do you plan to focus on specific topics in your essays on Eclectablog?
There are so many topics of interest that pursuing a narrow range is not in my book, and many areas of concern are already very well covered by Eclectablog’s other writers. (It is “eclectic” after all.) While education and social work were my career fields (37 years of teaching and 34 years of social service work, including 13 years of child abuse and neglect investigation, day job and night job), I want to keep exploring other areas and point out the cascading ironies that abound in a complex society.
What is your dream job?
My husband and I have been retired for a few years now, but I still joke that my next dream job would be working in a hardware store. There is a free practical education to be had working among items and gadgets with mysterious functions. And I like the idea of selling things that actually help solve people’s problems, things like augers, nuts and bolts, caulking compounds, mousetraps, plungers, etc. It’s a job that feeds into my fantasy that our politicians get beyond posturing, limelight theft, and the constant currying of favor from corporate “moolahs” and actually work to solve our real problems, and I’d be standing by to hand them some shims, chisels and grounding wire.