by George Dienhart
When I left Illinois, I had become accustomed to occasionally bumping into people that were familiar with my efforts here at the Illinois Review. Most often, people were supportive. Occasionally, people were less then supportive. On one occasion, I affirmed my connection and was answered with a raised middle finger. I guess I'm just happy no one took a swing at me...
Most readers know I moved out of state. I also coach youth football. I was surprised last week as one of my players parents approached me and asked if I was the same guy that "writes for some website". I braced for impact. They say never mix politics and religion. I say never mix youth sports with anything. Surely, I was about to pay for mixing politics and youth sports. I was pleasantly surprised as the parent complimented me on the McCain interview I had recently published. For the moment, crisis had been averted.
Today, I read that Jay Marriotti is leaving the Sun-Times for a greener and more electronic pastures. I may never agree with Jay on the Cubs, but we see eye to eye on one thing. As comforting as it is to sit down and read a newspaper, it's unlikely that my grandchildren will ever know that particular experience. Jay Marriotti knows it, and my interaction with a reader in Georgia proves it. The modern world gets it's news ala cart. The Internet age has afforded us the opportunity to pick and choose. Commentary from IR, national news from Foxnews.com, and local news from the electronic versions of the struggling newspapers. Mix and match as you choose, reading only what is relevant to you.
This places a great deal of responsibility on individual bloggers. My hobby goes beyond just venting my frustration with liberals. It goes beyond bar room conversations on politics. People look to me for facts and opinion. That can be good, or bad depending on your opinion. Once you multiply me by thousands you begin to get the picture. That picture made me think...
In my opinion, political bloggers could use a volunteer organization to provide fact checking and advice. A loose configuration, or guild, to keep each other honest and provide some voluntary standards. As I launch this effort- I'd like to point out that this is entirely separate from the Illinois Review. It is not a part of IRE or even sanctioned by IR. I do, however put out an invitation to all IR bloggers to join, and work on the projects that will be announced over the coming weeks.
I'd also like to stress that this is truly a bi-partisan effort. To be successful, we need bloggers from entire political spectrum.I'm looking for Democrats, Greens, Libertarians and Republicans. The project will be centered at http://politicalbloggersguild.typepad.com/. To become involved, email me at email@example.com, or leave a response in this thread.