06 May 2010

All Right, Let's Try This Again...

The question is:  How often will I be blogging here going forward?  Hopefully, the answer will be: More than 2-3 times every five years. 

The fact is, however, things had been rather busy.  First, there was the matter of finishing up law school.  (Check.)  Then there was passing the bar exam.  (Check.)  Meanwhile, it became necessary for me to end my original career somewhat earlier than I would have liked, an event that wasn't helped by the demise of the former Saturn division of General Motors.  (Check.)  Then I had my own practice for a time, and I can state from experience that working for yourself can be far more hectic than working for a third party.  (Check. Check.)  But presently, I have settled into the world of Social Security Disability law, in service to the American people.  I say that rather literally, because this link reflects where I now work. 

Still there are times when I want to speak out, especially on matters having a legal or political frame of reference.  That's where this blog comes in.  Of course, in the world of public discourse, there are several well known dangers of doing this, especially in an electronic forum.  First, it must be assumed, as a general rule, that what I say here will be archived forever somewhere.  As proof of that, I recently came across some postings I had done with a Usenet newsgroup dating clear back to 1991 as a result of a Google search.  As further proof, there's always the "Wayback Machine" feature of archive.org.  Second, there has to be a very solid distinction between one's work life and one's personal life.  That there's some overlap between the two is unavoidable, but for instance, there must never even be the perception that I make known my views "on company time."  Nor can there be the perception that I am any way speaking in any sort of official capacity, whether I fully agree with a policy or otherwise.  Third, and most fundamentally, I expect some of my opinions to evolve or even change over time.  This is not to say that I intend to compromise on anything that touches upon my core values, such as those relating to my beliefs regarding family, Deity, the purpose of life, or any similar or related subject.  Stated differently, there are absolutes and I shall adhere to them.  What I am saying, however, is that events happen, or as new information becomes available, I will want to "revise and extend my remarks."

Therefore, several overriding principles are in order that I think will be applicable to every posting in this forum. 

First.  Am I going to wave the American flag here?  You bet I am, and I was doing that long before I even started law school.  One of my absolutes, or rather, one my my core values, is in holding that the Founding Fathers were inspired by Providence to put into place the type of government that we now have, with the preservation of freedoms that have resulted from that, both here and elsewhere in the world. 

Second.  Do I speak for the government, at any level, in any official capacity?  Absolutely not.  As with any administration--indeed just like any citizen--I will agree with some policies but not with others.  Or I may mostly agree with a policy, but question a particular element of it.  If I do that, I speak for myself or for my family, as a private citizen, and for no one else, unless I expressly say otherwise (and I certainly don't expect I will be doing that as a matter of routine). 

Third.  It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but in the interest of ethics, if not common sense, it should be made plain that I shall make no statements, whether favorable or otherwise, on "company time," or, "on the taxpayer's dime."  Unless expressly stated otherwise, it is to be understood that everything on this blog is being composed on my own equipment, using communication services I personally pay for, on my own time, when I am not on official duty.

Fourth.  While I will operate under certain absolutes, it is possible for an opinion on a particular subject to be modified or changed as additional information becomes available.  There's a difference, you know, between changing one's views solely in the interest of political expediency, and doing so because you know it is right or to correct a misunderstanding or mistake.  The intent is to be guided by the latter principle. 

Fifth.  The overriding objective is responsible, polite, and civil discourse.  I may disagree on a subject.  I may do so strongly and vehimently.  I may even use some pretty awful words, like "condemn," "irresponsible," "miscreant," and et cetera.  But I want what I say to be readable within a broad, general audience.  A hypothetical eight-year old with the vocabulary of a lawyer ought to be able to read these remarks and not feel the need to blush. 

Sixth.  The other overriding objective is to sustain and uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.  The general principle is that if the viewpoint calls for terrorism, violence, anarchy, or the like, regardless of the underlying subject, I seek to condemn it.  To the greatest extent possible, and to stress an earlier point, there must be civil discourse, and where necessary, peaceful protest, in order to address the issues and concerns of our day.

And finally:  Will things be this verbose going forward?  Time will tell.  I think the general advice with blogs is to be "short and sweet."  That may be an ideal, but it is not an absolute.  Where I can be concise, I will do so, but I will write no less than what I think is absolutely necessary to get the point across.

And with that, let the dialogue begin.  We'll start the expected frequency for blog entries at once weekly, and then see where we go from there.

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