Last week, I finalized my decision to run for the Sauk County Board. I knew that running for public office and, hopefully, holding an elected position would be a conflict for the Baraboo News Republic. After a conversation with Capital Newspapers Regional Editor Todd Krysiak, he agreed. I have to admit, however, that I was holding out hope maybe I was wrong.
When Krysiak first contacted me in February 2014, I am certain I was not the writer he initially had in mind. He knew I was connected to conservatives through the Republican Party and was seeking a local-minded conservative viewpoint that could replace Ellen Bueno upon her decision to retire from writing. Before the conversation was over, I already had decided I would like to give it a shot.
We initially signed a one-year agreement and I told Krysiak if the column didn’t live up to the paper’s expectations, he could terminate the agreement early and I wouldn’t hold it against him. Initially, this column appeared weekly in the Baraboo News Republic and bi-weekly in the Sauk Prairie Eagle.
Nearly four years later, the column has appeared in six additional regional papers, so I guess our agreement worked out. I never would have imagined it would last 3 years and 10 months; 204 columns; and 153,000-plus words.
Before we part ways, I would like to share some thoughts, or fallacies, about this column. Whether you agreed with these views or not, I don’t watch Fox News. I do love “The Five” but I prefer watching CNN Headline News and CBS — even when I disagree with their biased news coverage.
Additionally, it is difficult to convey an entire platform or viewpoint in the editorial limit of 750 words. The fortunate thing about the news cycle is that many issues regenerate themselves, so you can write on similar topics while discussing a different aspect of any particular issue. Whether it is illegal immigration or gun control, a new story can drive a new conversation — even when discussion sounds the same.
I also never expected there would be a consensus in the talking points of this column. I lovingly refer to Sauk County as Dane County Jr., so I knew the uphill battle I faced. Even within the conservative ranks, the opinions expressed here are either too conservative or not conservative enough. In fact, I had a relative call me out as not being as conservative as she thought I was. My goal wasn’t to be more conservative than the next person. It simply was an attempt to extrapolate a moderated conservative viewpoint.
Not every issue is black or white. Not every issue is conservative or liberal. In most cases, there is a reasonable common ground, but in our day-to-day political bickering, that notion seems lost. My goal was to create a public dialogue that hopefully would bring the extreme right left and the moderate left right. I knew the progressive left would never find this column’s viewpoint reasonable.
Here is another thing you should know: A large majority of readers loved what I called the “fluff piece.” It was the column that simply didn’t address politics or the issue of the day. It was the column that gave me a mental break from the grind of addressing political commentary. I am a political junkie but I also love baseball, the Badgers and Packers, and much more. My fiction piece regarding the opening of the gun deer season last month had more views than any other on my public Facebook page.
Which brings me to my final talking point. Several years ago, my wife noticed my closest friends were mostly Democrats. It’s mostly because we connect on a personal level but the friendships have been maintained because we knew we could agree to disagree without becoming enemies. Like many conservatives, and liberals alike, I have grave concerns that our “deeply divided politics” are in fact dividing too many people. The reality is that when you get outside the political circles, most people would simply prefer to discuss anything else — like deer hunting.
Farewell to my “friend” in Acton, California, and the so many others that this column engaged. Feel free to follow me on my Facebook page; but I will not allow “anonymous” posts. I owned this column by signing it every week. You can own your comments as well.
I hope to write again someday — but for now I am done. Thank you for tolerating the discussion and “On, Wisconsin!”