On the second anniversary of the start of this column, I am reprising the first one, so that people who were not here for the first know where I am coming from, and what they can expect. (This should have posted Thursday, but tech problems prevented that.)
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 sometimes.
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.