Today, thanks to the success of our recent fundraiser, I am thrilled to announce our newest Eclectablogger John Waite. John grew up and lives in Muskegon County and has been blogging since 2004. His work has appeared on Michigan Liberal and Blogging for Michigan where he as a contributing editor, as well as at Daily Kos. Born with spina bifida, John deals with health issues and the healthcare system on an ongoing basis. In addition to writing about these issues, he will also be covering LGBTQ equality, equitable access to affordable, quality healthcare, reproductive health issues, and disability access issues. You can follow John on Twitter at @JRWStormy
Please welcome John to Team Eclectablog. His first essay follows.
This past week I attended my eighth Netroots Nation conference and after cultivating a casual friendship with him over the past couple of years, your humble blog host Chris Savage finally popped the question: “Where are you blogging right now? Do you want to come and write for Eclectablog?” I instinctively said yes, because OH MY GOD DREAM COME TRUE, and then my blood ran cold. If I chose to write for a blog as big and influential as Eclectablog I was going to have to go back through and scrub all my social media accounts of all the controversial opinions and, um, colorful language.
I chewed on it for a day or two, and then I thought, “Naaaahhhh.” In the aftermath of the controversial protest that happened Saturday morning at the Netroots Nation presidential town hall there has been a real and valuable discussion happening on the Left over the need (or not) of civility in our political discourse. There are those who believe that it was “impolite” for Black Lives Matter activists to interrupt the town hall, and there are those who believe that nothing ever gets accomplished in this country by people who always choose to be unfailingly polite. After a few days of listening to both sides, I’m firmly in the latter camp.
Those of you who already know me from my previous blogging work or know me from social media know that I’m a big believer in the power of the F word. I’ve also said plenty of stupid, ignorant, or just plain silly things over the twenty years that the Internet has been a thing. I won’t apologize for who I was yesterday, but I promise you this: I will always try to be a better person today than I was yesterday. I will try to be a better listener and better advocate today than I was
yesterday. I will work harder today to lift up the voices of the oppressed than I did yesterday. That’s what this whole politics thing is about. If every single person was permanently set in their ways and held on to every opinion today that they had yesterday, there’s no reason for this blog or any social media site to even exist, and we may as well unplug and go home.
Being civil to one another isn’t about refraining from use of the F word. It’s about recognizing that you share a planet, a country, and a state with other people and that those other people who have just as much value as you do. It’s about doing everything you can to help even the playing field for everyone. It’s about using your power to amplify the voices of the voiceless. That’s what I plan to do with my time and space at Eclectablog, and I hope you’ll stick around
On a housekeeping note: Hi, I’m new. Well, not that new. I’ve been involved in the Michigan and national blogging scene since 2004. I’m passionate about LGBTQ equality, equitable and affordable access to quality health care, disability rights and access issues, and other social justice causes. And one more thing: Black. Lives. Matter.