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The personal is political … never more so than on Independence Day

This column ran in 2006 in my Reality Chick column with the Pelican Press newspaper. It gives a hint of what was already happening — the pressure from advertisers, the displeasure of some readers. I had written this column as a sort of address to those people who were displeased with the political edge my columns sometimes took.

I’m a political woman. I’m concerned with matters of government, democracy, social issues, and whether or not my butt looks big in certain pairs of pants. Hell, I could probably politicize a banana peel if you give me two hours and a cocktail.

I write about what matters to me, and what I hope matters to the readers of this column. Everything is personal, and in our world of tangential relativity, everything is nearly by default or by context, political. Even coloring my hair can be viewed through the lens of social politics, though I just call it vanity.

I’m a writer. A writer engaged in the business of public discourse.

So, it’s a business, but it’s not. Because it’s personal. And the personal is political.

If I write well, I’m going to touch some of you. Some of you will like what you read and some of you won’t.

I like to think, and that makes me just a tad politically-driven.

I like to think so much, in fact, that I can think my way into believing that Sarasotans, the readers of this column, of this newspaper, the advertisers herein, the editors, the other writers – that we all share a collective, tolerant mindset that allows for the free exchange of ideas and opinions no matter how varied.

I’ve certainly been getting my share of reader response. From the raised-eyebrow comments about my “non-PC” mention of cigarettes, to threats of subscription and advertising cancellations (apologies to Pelican Press management), to comments about how I’ll never get a man if I continue to speak my mind (apologies to my Mom who would like nothing more than to see me happily married) – I welcome it all.

I even get a fair share of positive reader feedback, and believe me, that counts for a lot when I’m fielding phone calls from strangers at my home or dealing with my business clients who’d rather I didn’t write a column at all.

But I do, and I will, as long as there are editors and publishers with enough cajones to run my work even when it’s not always easy to do so.

It’s nearly the Fourth of July. A day that recognizes our independence from being under the thumb of would-be rulers who wanted nothing more than to mold our burgeoning democracy to a rigid replica of a dying aristocracy. A day that celebrates our unique freedoms as Americans — freedom of religion, of expression, of speech, among many others; most of all, the freedom to be whom and what we are, as individuals, within certain parameters of civility.

By allowing me to freely express my thoughts in its pages, and share them in an open forum with you — the public, the Pelican Press insures not just my personal liberty, but yours as well. And in so doing, this paper breathes much-needed air to the thinning skin of our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I invite any reader, advertiser, even people who just use the paper as a liner for their cockatoos’ birdcage, to write to me, or even better, send a letter to the editor.

And not to get too political, but hey, Happy Independence Day.

Posted on July 4th, 2009Comments RSS Feed

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