This is the 1st anniversary of this blog and my gift to myself is a day off. I am re-running my first column, because not everyone saw it, and because it states my principles and my intentions. People should know what they are getting. It appears largely unchanged from July 15, 2019.
If you landed here because you were looking for a Russian troll farm, you are free to leave.
The rest of you know my name from the Daily News and the (cough) Inquirer, where I worked for 47 years before leaving “voluntarily” last Friday, with a farewell column that announced the birth of this website.
To distinguish it from the Old Column, a friend suggested that I write here in haiku, but limericks are more my style.
So now you know I will use humor. It might be a bit edgy sometime. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
I would prefer starting this adventure with something torn from the headlines, but I feel I have to show you a road map, so you know what to expect.
StuBykofsky.com is open to ideas from the Right (wing nut) and the Left (loon). My intent is to explore serious subjects — politics, reparations, socialism, Medicare for all, free higher education, illegal immigration, culture, bad behavior, good deeds, Beyonce, and space aliens, if we can find any. It also will be silly sometime.
I expect this venture will develop a life of its own. I suspect it will be a hybrid — part column, part diary, part Facebook post. We will find out together.
I am a centrist, sometimes leaning left, sometimes leaning right. I believe in the rule of law as protection against anarchy and chaos. I also believe facts matter.
I also believe The Middle is where people meet to get things done. That’s what we (meaning me) at StuBykofsky.com believe. I know the extremes draw more attention, but they are destructive.
Compromise to me = common sense, whether in a government or a marriage. Self-indulgent ideologues don’t believe in compromise because they think the morality of their cause demands purity and excludes “settling.” I think that is one reason our national government is gridlocked.
I believe, in essence, America is a good country with some bad people and some bad patches in its past and present. If you believe America is a bad country, you won’t be happy here.
If you need trigger warnings, a safe space, or a puppy to pet when you see an idea you don’t like, leave now. Straight talk overrules delicate feelings.
This column will be Philacentric, but with a world view. The PC police have been handcuffed. The language may sometimes be rough, but we are all adults. I am the benevolent gatekeeper of The Middle.
There’s nothing in the middle of the road, said Texas Democrat Jim Hightower, but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos.
That’s a funny line, but is it true? Let’s road test it on politics.
As of June, when Gallup asked Americans about their party affiliation, it found 27% said they were Democrats, 26% claimed to be Republicans and — approaching a majority — 46% chose to be independents.
Those figures suggest the emergence of a third political party is possible, but I don’t want to get over my skis. The bulk of Americans are middlist, which is a word I thought I invented, but someone beat me to the punch.
In terms of my home ground, it means purple Pennsylvania is more in tune with America than is deep blue Philadelphia.
I am an enrolled Democrat (I have to be in Philadelphia, where the primary determines the winner almost always) who has voted for some Republicans — Arlen Specter, Thacher Longstreth, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush (once) and maybe some others. I vote for the person — not the party, not the gender, not the skin color, not the religion, not the astrological sign, not the age, not the spirit animal.
I vote for the person who I think will be best for America, not necessarily best for me. Voting only for who is best for you is entirely understandable, but self-centered.
“Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans,” said political commentator Milton Himmelfarb, about his (and my) people. It was a comment on the Jewish commitment to liberalism, which thrives even as American Jews uncouple from their religious roots.
Jews are the only people I know who put the interests of other minority groups above their own.
Is that harsh?
It is an opinion and that’s what you will see here, but opinion standing on a platform of fact. I won’t always be right, but I will always try to get it right — and to correct it when I am wrong.
And so the adventure begins.