Thursday, October 30, 2008

A decent respect to the opinions of mankind

In case you hadn't noticed, my column and cartoons haven't been running in the Mapleton PRESS for a few weeks now. It's complicated. Suffices to say that it was my personal decision to go on hiatus, not an editorial decision on their part. It has been difficult. It is a personal leave of absence, and it is still indefinite.

I always believed in talking about "sex, politics, and religion- not necessarily in that order," and that it is important to speak the truth as you believe it. But this election has superheated. I never minded complaints about me or the occasional hate mail, but it got intense. People feel so passionately about their sides that they become angrier and uglier faster.

While other people may be hypersensitive and wrapped up in rancor, I'm probably culpable too. I'm very passionate about what I believe too, so no doubt my tone became more acidic and less light hearted. I had planned to go "cold turkey," and never post anything here if I couldn't write a weekly column too- but obviously I didn't have enough self control for that.

My dream was that being held to the discipline of writing a weekly column might someday lead to being able to write professionally full time. In my mind, blogging was extra, superfluous, a past time- column writing was the meat, blogging the side dish. If this is all I have, I'm just another prattling voice in the vast blogosphere, that hardly anyone ever bothers to read. In the PRESS, it was farm league, small time, but there were 4,000 readers- even if most of them disagreed with me and several of them thought I should be tried for treason.

If/when I return (after this damn election) I'd have to find a way not just to speak the truth, but to speak the truth in love and with more humor and less venom. But at this point, I don't know if or when that day will ever come.

It is important that my detractors and critics know that "I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party" or Socialist, or Taliban, or Terrorist. I am not a baby killer, a satanist, or a debaucher. I do believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior and I believe that might should not make right, but just the opposite- that right should make might. I believe in small town, agricultural Iowa, I believe in family and treating people with kindness and working hard. I Love America and I do not wish ill for her. Please don't feel sorry for my children or talk about me behind my back or avoid making eye contact with my wife or in-laws. Try following Jesus' advice in Matthew 5 "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you" (sorry if you ever felt like I persecuted you, could ya please try not to deliberately persecute me, okay? Thanks).

It is important that my fans (if I ever had any) know that no one at Enterprise Publishing and the Mapleton PRESS did this to me. I needed to take a break. After 25 years of dreaming, I finally got the gumption to send out both columns and cartoons to national syndicates and got rejected by every single one. I thought I could withstand that, but it really rattled me- though not as much as neighbors who don't think I can possible be Christian because I'm not as rabidly pro-life and anti-gay and anti-immigrant as they are. Thank you for your encouragement and camaraderie. Keep me in your prayers.

It is important for those readers who disagreed with me a lot of the time but still enjoyed reading my column and cartoons, but who don't hold all kinds of animosity towards me that you should always be willing to talk about anything with anyone, and also be willing to listen to anyone talk about anything. Listening and learning, sharing and discussing- even when you disagree, and trying to find common ground- these are what makes America great and make the give and take of democracy work. Thank you, and please pass it on.

1 comment:

  1. Ted,
    You always inspired me during the short time I knew you in high school. After finding out that after all these years you still are drawing and reaching out to people of all ages blows me away. Step back and look at what you are doing, Ted. Your passion is sweet to the taste and your talent is a rare rose that I am blessed to have laid gaze upon. I pray that you cultivate it and keep it alive as long as you can. Sharing brings happiness to both the sharer and all those who partake.

    Peace my friend.
    -= Murray =-