YOUR TURN

I was traveling yesterday and am just gettting caught up with email. I’m going to try and answer everyone personally – hey, I have more time now! – but here’s a smattering of your comments on my putting the blog on a less intense schedule for a while. Which reminds me to thank Reihan Salam for all his work these past few years in editing the Letters page. How I forgot is beyond me. Sorry, Reihan. And thanks again.

P.S. I’ll be on CNN tonight before and after the SOTU. Now over to you:

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Your web log was the one that introduced me to the blogosphere a bit over a year ago. What a long road it’s been. I thought that you were a Kennedy Democrat in Ronald Reagan’s skin writer that made common sense of the troubled world around us. By following you daily, sometimes hourly, I came to view you as the conservative that you said you were, yet I still had some doubt. After Abu Ghraib, you seemed to slide back to left of center on many occasions and that troubled me and yet I continued to read you to get a balance of opinion on the critical topics. Leading up to the election you became so enraged with the Bush administration that I cut you off, for one day. I couldn’t keep up with the news without your input. Eventually I came to understand and even adopt some of your criticism of the torture scandal. It saddens me, as a consumer of political commentary, that you are leaving the blogging scene, hopefully you’ll be gone for just a short period of time. Get plenty of rest, focus on your projects and hurry back.

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If you want to hear Hawks ramble, you go the Corner. If you want to hear Doves prattle, you go to Kos. Reading those guys is like eating at McDonald’s. You know that the food is going to be the same, no matter what.

If you want to read somebody dealing with complex issues in a thoughtful way you go to Sullivan. I read you because you’re not an ideologue and because I, like you, have a set of conflicting emotions about our Foreign Policy. It was helpful to read someone else go through the same experience. I expect that we are the majority and Kos and the corner the minority. Look forward to more posts in the future and thanks.

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Your absence will mark a huge void in my daily life, but it is reassuring that you aren’t gone entirely, and may return some day.
I didn’t know I was an eagle before I found your blog, but now I do. Before I had felt utterly alone — now I know there is a community of people like me.

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This liberal who was brought up being told to “never, ever, marry a Republican” is really going to miss the intellectually honest blogging you consistently put up on your site.

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I’m glad to hear you’ll be cutting down on the blogging… although I will miss reading you so regularly. I’m glad to hear it, because it will give you a “life” again. Such a constant level of intensity really is not conducive to retaining a HUMAN perspective on things. Things just get conceptual… and you start living on a conceptual plane that is not very healthy. Re-connect with family and friends! Re-learn the value of living and life!

I must say that I completely disagree with you on most things, and your incapacity to understand what the Iraq war is all about repeatedly stuns me. But then, I have to remember what my s.o. keeps telling me: Humans, despite what you want to believe, are not rational beings. So there it is.

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Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Read what you posted about taking a breather. You do that. You surely won’t lose me as a reader and a fan. If you miss the heat, I could randomly send you hate mail every so often.

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It’s been said thousands of times before, Andrew. But only a few times from me.

Thanks so much. So VERY much. You have, on occasion, maddened me to the point of not being able to finish my day’s work, inspiring a few rant emails that I’m embarrassed to say I penned. But as a gay man living a single life in NYC, you have given me such comfort in these tumultuous political times. You words about marriage equality have been truly inspiring and deeply moving.
So I know that, like a good drug with only a few iffy side effects, I will have to ween myself off of you.
It was a pleasure listening to you and meeting you at the Barnes and Noble in Chelsea last year on that historic day. I will never forget your beaming smile that day. It was at a time when we all could’ve taken sides on the war, taken sides on any number of issues. But instead we listened and were proud to be there.
This is the effect you have on people. Well, one of the effects. And it is what I think of when I think of you. Disagreements come and go – but your groundbreaking work in the arena of equal rights should never ever been overshadowed by anything.

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Glad to hear you’re taking a break from The Dish. Given how wildly off-base you’ve been on the Iraq war, your silence will be a great contribution to world peace.

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I’m a liberal reader in New York and I’ve e-mailed you a few times in the past, often on points where our views converge.
You may feel like you need a fresh start, but I can tell you with certainty that you’re leaving at a high point. Your blog is one of the few that can truly claim to transcend partisan lines on a regular basis. Your support for the Iraq war was for the right reasons, in as much as that is possible. Your critique of the GOP’s attitude towards gays last year, and towards torture victims this year, has made you an essential source of public criticism.
I’m genuinely sad to see you go. There are times, I admit, when a glance at your blog is my own souce of fresh air.

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Perhaps this short missive will be lost in the general deluge you are no doubt experiencing, but I wanted to drop a note of thanks. I’ve got a hat-tip to you on my own nascent blog (two days old!), which wouldn’t exist (the blog, that is) without your inspiration. A job well done, and the $20 I’m donating is all I can afford right now but worth every penny. I’m a moderate conservative in liberal city (San Francisco) who works at an even more liberal institution (public high school teacher), and your steady musings have often guided the way and helped me stick to my guns on a number of issues, in addition to livening up my lunch hour.

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I’ve only been reading your blog for approximately 6 months or so, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. You’re consistently insightful and thought provoking, even if I do not always agree with you, you make me consider my own stance. Your slants on things are always interesting and original. I can say that you made me reconsider my take on homosexual marriage. As someone who lives in a very red state, that’s no small accomplishment

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So you’re leaving. Well. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you were probably the first personal blog I read, at least three years ago. I want you to know that I hold you personally responsible for the fact that my favorites list on my PC now has almost 100 listings.

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I start my day with you. I’ll miss you–aaauugghh! Your courage and writing gave me knowledge and hope when I was lost in awkwardness and fear. I have written you before, but to repeat: our oldest son in NYC, one of the finest men on earth, told us he was gay. Though we are no longer “active,” our family is Mormon, and I had to quickly learn what our son’s new life was like because our culture had no signposts beyond excommunication–which is medieval and anathema to me. I bought your books, read your website daily, and learned what I needed in order to be, I hope, not just a loving mother but also an aware mot
her for him. The most important thing to me was to maintain our close love and affiliation–I didn’t want to lose him. We’ve been successful, the name “andrew” is often on our lips from your views on the website, and you gave me a bridge to the other side. I think this break is good for you and bad for us. I hope you are in good health and that you travel safely. You have done more than make blogging an integral part of news and information, you have opened your heart and mind to us and made our connection personal. Thank you so much.

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Though I understand your reasoning, I (and my journalist fiance) are crushed that you will be going on hiatus. For the past two years (maybe longer, I’ve lost track), signing on to your blog several times a day has been an immense pleasure. What I’ve really loved (and what Kaus clearly didn’t get) was going through your thought processes with you, on topics from gay marriage to Bush/Kerry to the idea of preventive war and the Iraq invasion. That’s one of the best things about the blog, that readers get to share this process in near-real time as you think things through, sometimes changing your mind, other times resolutely sticking to the original idea. I’ve found you infuriating at times and completely convincing at others, but I always felt challenged (in a good way). Provocative, sincere, compelling are words that come to mind.

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I’ve never written an e-mail like this before, but reading your valedictory tonight, I’ve only begun to realize how much I have been changed by your blogging in the Daily Dish.
Demographically, I’m the cliche gay LA Democrat (my Nana never cared whether I brought home a man or a woman as long as they were Democrats!), but over the past 18 months, I have found myself listening and responding to your reasoned arguments on so many issues, and even when I disagree, I have to say “this guy’s got a great point.” And seeing you go one such shows as Chris Matthews’ and argue for the Iraq War and turn around and decry the FMA on the same show has given me enormous respect for courage to take every issue on a case-by-case basis, something too few Bush-lovers or Bush-haters have had the cajones to do.

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Thanks for all your wonderful commentary. I am glad I did not have to endure the election and war without your sane, thoughtful and well reasoned point of view. You make me proud to be conservative.
Not having you blogging daily will be a loss to the rest of us, but I’m sure we all understand that it’s necessary. Thanks for all the work. I’ve sent you some impolite emails over the last couple of years (come to think of it, how come you’re ignoring the Canadian Conservative position on gay marriage?) but I have always thought highly of you and your site, in particular because of your willingness to let your critics have a say on your site. It’s sad that that should be almost unique, but it is.

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I understand completely your need for a break. Your announcement at least prompts me to write my first email to you. I cannot express how much I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past two years or so, and I have happily made my nominal contribution to keep it and you going.

You are a pride to the gay men and women of America who recognize that we cannot get anywhere without engaging the issues with honesty, clarity and substance. Nor can we assume that the Democrats like us and the Republicans don’t. Both sides pander to their perceived constituencies, and truth be known, many on both sides, whether ostensible “friends” or “enemies,” wish we would just go away. But you won’t go away, and that makes me very proud of you and of your brave and open stance as our advocate. Your struggles — sexuality, religion, politics — are mine and ours. You give us voice, while most of the rest of us just fester.

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I want to personally thank you for your efforts these past 4 and 1/2 years. After Drudge, yours was the first blog that I regularly read and it opened up a stimulating and interesting world full of new vistas to me. I am now largely a “blog-centric” person when it comes to obtaining information about the world and the U.S. I have found that the information and differing views availabIe to me through the internet to be a Godsend, and I want to thank you for “turning me onto” this new experience. While I have at times strongly disagreed with you on certain issues, I have never regretted a moment spent reading your postings and articles. Thanks for experience.