A Decade Of The Dish: Your Reflections I
A reader writes:
I worked for many years in radio, and we have a special category of listeners we call "long time listeners/ first time callers." They are 99% of all radio listeners who genuinely enjoy what they hear most every day, but never get around to calling the station. With regard to your blog, it's probably safe to say that 99% of your readers never get around to clicking the "email Andrew" link, yet they read you frequently, possibly multiple times daily. They read, they think; they laugh and cry, and look through the views from your infinite windows. Count me among your long time readers/ first time e-mailers. Kudos to you and your staff on your 10th anniversary, and please know that for many of the 99%ers out here, we can't imagine a day without another helping from the Dish.
As an outsider looking in, I am very grateful for your blog’s existence. Yours is a sane voice in the midst of all-too-pervasive hysteria, and a sane conservative voice, which as someone to the left, I welcome with all my heart. As someone who loves Americans and loves (mostly) America, I yearn for them to return to civilized, respectful discourse, motivated not by ideology but by pragmatism. A lot of us outside the borders of the United States are hoping and praying that America shows greater unity in the face of some very grave challenges we all are confronting. May America listen to the better angles of its nature. Thank you Andrew, your blog is a bright spot.
As I do every morning, I woke up, made coffee and opened my window to the sounds and smells of Paris, then settled in to see what you and your team had to say during the night, while I slept. With an RSS feedreader overwhelmed by more than 500 feeds and subsequently abandoned, I've honed down my news and commentary sources to very few, and your blog is one of them. On your 10th anniversary, I'd like to tell you how and why you fit into my life.
I found Blogger in 2006, after almost killing myself trying to fit into corporate America and finally quitting, with no job prospects in sight. I was 50 and I was going to do what I was meant to do: write. I had also been apolitical for most of my life, being raised in a family where compassion for those less fortunate was a weakness and worthy of derision. Christmas cards from Nixon hung proudly on my mother's wall, and her library upstairs was packed with books like Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative (my Canadian mother became a US citizen in order to work for Goldwater's campaign) and currently her coffee table sports books by Malkin and Colter. To my entire family, Limbaugh is a "true patriot." I don't have any idea how I managed, from birth, to be a liberal, but as the youngest of six kids I had to completely disconnect from politics or I would have been shouted down every time I made a liberal squeak.
But George Bush's administration pushed me out of my lethargy and I got so angry that I started educating myself - thus the 500 RSS feeds. I learned about PNAC and neoconservatism, about AIPAC, Israel and Zionism and continue to learn about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. But what would I do with all this new information? How could I make analysis and express my opinions? Blogger. It had some magical interface that made it possible for this writer who never could take the time to write to do so.
Here's where you come in. I did not want to fall into the same trap as my family - only reading authors that supported my worldview. I was looking for someone - not of the left - who reflected some of the conservative values that I was still able to hear underneath all the loud derision of my family's discourse. I know, based on my experience working for the US Army and Marine Corps and then a military contractor, that government-run anything is a mess of waste and inefficiency. I have an ingrained respect for entrepreneurship and business - for, dare I say, Capitalism. I believe in a cautious, deliberate approach to policy. These values come from my conservative upbringing, even though they were all trounced upon by Bush's supposedly conservative administration. So, you were the conservative voice I chose to subscribe to.
In addition, and also so very important, you turned me on to The View From Your Window and Blurb. I spent this entire summer traveling through France with my French friend. While she inspected châteaux and B&Bs for her guide book, I took a view-from-your-window picture from every château. (Some day, I'll get around to sending them to you :-) But, having lost access to a fancy New York book agent when I walked away from my formerly-famous journalist boyfriend, Blurb was the answer. It will allow me to form my summer travel adventures into a book that I can self publish. This was a great gift from you.
And if you're still miraculously reading this novel of an email, thank God for the respect and love of you and your team for long-form literature and journalism. There's a place for me, after all.