Where’d they go?

So far this week (and keep in mind I’m writing this late Tuesday afternoon) I’ve been called a RINO (obviously), stupid, naïve, uninformed, and, of course, a sheep. That’s not even including random strangers responding to the “laughing out loud” emoji I drop occasionally on supremely ridiculous news article comment sections.

With the whole insurrection thing set aside for a moment, it’s intriguing to see where the MAGA-right has drug the Republican party. As it turns out, blue lives only matter when certain terms and conditions apply, the party is now in strong favor of government intervention in the free market, and law and order is out in favor of rioting and looting.

I think we may still be hanging in there on tax policy… Although the party’s position on supporting the military now remains to be seen. I’m assuming we’ll get evidence of that one way or another between now and the inauguration.

I’m standing where I’ve always stood, but honest to God, I have no idea where the hell the Republican Party has gone. At the 2020 nominating convention, the RNC didn’t vote a platform beyond “We support Donald Trump.” I honestly hadn’t expected them to adhere so fanatically to that single plank. Boy did I misread the room, there.

So, baaaaaa… or whatever. *Shrugs*

Record setting…

Sometime around 10:00 last Thursday night, jeffreytharp.com set 2020 as its best year for views yet. That’s not a bad place to be at the tail end of October and the numbers, of course, keep ticking up every day. Say what you want about the suffering of life in a plague year, but having people home, bored, and dinking around on the internet has done great things for my numbers.

I’m sure there are people out there who are making an actual living at this. God knows I get enough emails about “monetizing your platform.” That’s never been my goal here, though. The only reason jeffreytharp.com exists at all is as a venue for exorcising some of life’s daily bile without my brain exploding… and maybe offering up a bit of entertainment along the way.

Sure, making a few coins from it would be nice, but I value my position as an amateur bitcher and complainer. Maybe I could take the whole thing pro, but surely it would lose some of its charm when in the back of my head I’m always conscious of what drives views and spend time worried about who might be offended. That’s just a risk not worth taking, so we’ll keep on as we are… because I feel like there’s going to be a lot of things that need saying over the next few months.

The whole nine years…

So today is the big day. We’re celebrating jeffreytharp.com’s 9th birthday. Well, I guess we’re not so much celebrating it as we are simply remarking on the occasion. Celebrating implies sparkly hats and cake and, frankly, sounds just awful.

Unless I’m reminded it’s easy to forget just how long I’ve been doing this. The first five years, of course, weren’t actually here at WordPress (although the whole archive now lives here permanently and you can access al those posts from the links along the left hand side of the screen). I wasn’t quite early enough to claim to be a blog pioneer, but I’ve been doing it for enough time that I feel like one of the surviving old timers. It helps that I didn’t start out expecting to set the world on fire, or turn it into an income stream, or ever really want it to be more than just a collection of whatever thoughts or ideas grabbed my attention on any given day. I expect that’s why I have managed to keep after it year over year no matter whether the views were up or down.

WordPress has given me an open platform to blurt out whatever happened was on my mind without a requirement to categorize it or enter into a discussion. It’s where I can come and simply state that this is my opinion and here’s the thinking that led me there. It’s far more cathartic each evening than diving into a comments section or social media post and screaming at whoever wanders by with a differing opinion.

So, you might be wondering, after nine years where do we stand by the numbers? Since February 2010, we’ve racked up 2,364 posts, 565 comments, and a staggering 702,018 total words. Fortunately, those are statistics that the site keeps for me. There’s no way I’d have come close to those totals if I were asked to take a guess.

Next milestone: June 2021, when we’ll be celebrating 15 years of blogging. See y’all there.

Contemplating a change…

So, for the last few weeks, I’ve contemplated moving the blog to a host that offers a few more utilities and options for posting my semi-regularly scheduled missives. To be frank, the only reason I keep the MySpace page updated these days is because of the blog. A dedicated blogging platform just seems easier to manage on a day-to-day basis than keeping a dying website around to just support a blog… Why not cut out the middle-man and focus on what I really enjoy doing… ranting about all that is stupid in the world. I wouldn’t be leaving MySpace, of course, but rather putting the page into kind of a suspended animation mode so I have a presence here, but not something that needs regular care and feeding. Hopefully I’ll make a final decision after I’ve had a chance to play around with some of the hosting sites and see if they’ll fill the bill. As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Breaking Ranks…

I have been a Republican for all of my adult life. I registered a Republican in 1996, but have stood on Republican principles since long before my eligibility to cast a ballot. For me, the Republican Party stood for small government, low taxes and deficit reduction, a strong national defense, and maxim personal freedom consistent with public safety. Sadly, the Republican Party that I grew up in, the Party of Eisenhower, of Goldwater, of Reagan has is no longer recognizable and has become a Party of spiraling deficit, exploding government, and religious dogma. It’s a Party I can no longer endorse or support.

Earlier this week, I cast my ballot for the last time as a member of the Republican Party. As soon as conveniently possible, I intend to formally register as an Independent, with a strong leaning towards the Libertarian Party. For me, this is an intensely personal decision and one that I have arrived at only after deep introspection. Despite that, I proceed in full confidence that it is the right, and ultimately, the only decision I could make.

I continue to believe that smaller and less expensive government is better and that the federal government has only several express purposes. Among these is the protection of personal property, national defense, and a very tightly restricted regulatory role in issues of interstate commerce. Government should not, and of right must not, impose religious tests or dogmas on its citizens and should pursue an agenda of allowing the greatest amount of personal liberty consistent with national security. Succinctly, what I expect from the government is to be protected from crime, terrorism, and external foreign threats. Otherwise, what I wish most from government is to be left alone to live my life in liberty and in the pursuit of happiness.

I regret that I can no longer do so within the umbrella of the Republican Party.