A year after anything, it is easy to look back and wonder — in a head dizzying funnel cloud of amazement — where the time went. Easier still when you’re not simply reminiscing, but have something of substance to look back upon.
Where did the time go?
It has been a year since this online broadsheet tacked itself onto the world’s virtual public square sideboard, rousing the restful and focusing the restless like a town crier or, we’d like to think, like the Virginia Patriot Jack Jouett, who’s heroic 40-mile ride saved the lives of Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Benjamin Harrison, Patrick Henry and Thomas Nelson, Jr., in a ride more important, but not as famous, than Paul Revere’s.
Last year on this day we welcomed people to the truth (see first post here), promising to bring not the smack talk of many political blogs (God Bless’em, there are some good ones out there), but rather an intelligent discussion of issues, with some horse race and inside baseball politics when our time and interest allowed, and when our sources were talking. We also pledged to never back down on the truth, no matter how some may perceive it, because the truth is permanent and enduring, while political gain is fleeting. We’re not naive, either. We know the field on which we play, and so we mix in our own brand of snark and ridicule to those who so richly deserve it. After all, the truth can be expressed not just through fact and explanation, or through reasoned argument, but by more vernacular means. Our first sentence recognized the prominence of this new medium.
We also have had a full year of reporting events, from our Capitol Square Diary of General Assembly machinations, to U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Virginia cases, to live and one-on-one Interviews with state and national figures, to Virginia State Police Chaplains who were ordered to cease praying in Jesus’ name. We also have posted on the meaning of various holidays, patriotic television, pop culture and the media, about befriending legislators with whom we don’t always agree; and created, among other things, interactivity with an Action Center, reader Polls and video posts. It’s been a full year, almost entirely fun, the little exasperation caused only from the wealth of topics and an already hectic schedule. Maintaining this blog is no one’s full-time job, though it can seem like it. Three quick stats: 433 posts (1.7 posts per working day) and 1,073 comments.
We’ve also openly professed our lack of expertise in most things technological. Our contributors do know how to write superbly, though, and that’s the essence of this anyway. The Virginia Gazette didn’t look so hot in the 1700s, either. Slowly, we’ve added gadgets and gizmos, learning the mechanics as we go along, and that, too, has been fun. We’re not the shiniest car on the block, but our motor hums ferociously. In keeping with the colonial/Captain Jouett theme it’s better said that we don’t have the prettiest horse in the stable, but he sure gallops a might! The blog is still pretty streamlined, as when we started, but it has grown into a vital portal of information on public policy in Virginia and on cultural and values issues at large.
Where has the time gone? Wherever it has, so too, has the truth. While we and several other worthwhile bloggers, grassroots organizations and alternative media sources continue to promulgate it in the on-going battle of ideas, not as much can be said for the body politic or the Mainstream Media. Whether it’s the General Assembly’s refusal to honestly deal with budget transparency or a handful of senators deviously plotting to restore taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood when it was effectively cut out of the budget, or a governor who disingenuously contrived reasons to cut abstinence education funding while misleading the legislature on the state’s revenue for the purpose of creating new government intrusions into functions where it has no business; or national candidates and radical political organizations who, between them, have, and are currently spending, more than a billion dollars to create a ”messianic” image of one candidate and distastefully distort the reputations of their opponents; the truth, sadly, has gone wanting in so many ways.
Still, there is optimism. Thousands read this blog, making us one of the most read political blogs in Virginia. Hundreds of others quote us. One year ago, we weren’t sure what direction this blog would go, only that each day would be an exciting challenge to discern which important topics needed to be discussed and how best to get that point across, and deal with the constant change that is politics and policy through technology and new methods of communication.
We may adapt a little here and there to meet those challenges, just as Captain Jouett doubtlessly adapted his ride for the dangers of his mission. More than two centuries later, through a much different manner, we carry on his ride against every bit as determined a force — a ride for truth and just cause that shielded him and Virginia’s founders from the trials and dangers of their day. This first year has been a great ride. We hope you continue along with us for the entire journey.