Why I write–and what I hope you’ll do with it

Why I Write

This month marks the end of the seventh year of writing these posts. I began in something of a panic over the election of Donald Trump in the fall of 2016. I could not and still cannot conceive of a man less suited to competently lead us as president. Jolted, I read the original twenty-three page organizational document of the Indivisible movement. I took to heart the message that I needed to learn how our government works on all levels. I understood that we have a representative government that operates on something called the “rule of law”, but my level of civic engagement consisted only in voting in each election. At the time my voting decisions were based on little more than the sketchy information about the candidates available in the voters’ pamphlets and the Spokesman Review. 

I’ve long understood that the surest way to learn something is to compel oneself to learn it well enough to explain it to someone else. That notion and the need to ventilate got me started writing about civics and politics with an emphasis on eastern Washington. It has been quite a journey—greatly aided by the fact that today the primary documents of our governance are available at our fingertips: federal and state constitutions, legal codes, videos and links to online meetings, and the abundant basic orientation, resources, and links available through Wikipedia. 

I firmly believe that most of us passively absorb whatever we are exposed to most frequently in reading, TV, movies, sermons, and conversation. These influences form our worldview. I can see this in my own life. For years I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. Looking back, it is now clear to me that during those years I was passively lulled into a generally Milton Friedman-esque view of economics—a view that I now believe is terribly flawed.

If you have even a tiny doubt of the insidiousness and power of passive absorption of opinion, I urge you to look up and spend an hour and a half watching:

The Brainwashing of My Dad” a 2015 documentary by Jen Senko available on YouTube.

What to do with it

The readership of The High Ground has slowly expanded. Currently, it is emailed out by Substack to a few more than 1100 subscribers of whom, on any given Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, somewhere between fifty and sixty percent get around to “clicking” on the email. Some of the “High Ground” posts are extensively forwarded and receive clicks on the forwards. The current record is 2,420 clicks for “The Heat Will Kill You First” (and I don’t believe that counts those who might have read copies posted elsewhere). Somewhere around 1500 clicks is more typical.

A number of my readers have copied and pasted posts to various forms of social media, including Facebook, Nextdoor, and “X” (formerly known as Twitter). I am personally inept in the use of social media, but I am happy that any of my writing that rings a bell with my readers is shared. 

Anything that is underlined in what I write is an embedded link that one can click on to inspect the source material. Sometimes those linkages are broken with copying and pasting of the text. One way to avoid that is to copy and paste a link to the online Substack article. (Clicking the title of any of the emailed posts will take you to the internet page on Substack for that article. Once there you can highlight, copy, and paste the internet address line from your browser to wherever you wish to share.)

Please feel free to use the ideas and links I offer as the basis for a letter to an editor or to inform conversation. I claim no intellectual property rights, feel free to quote me with or without attribution. 

I view what I research, write, and publish online in these “The High Ground” posts as much like pitching pebbles in the pond of human experience: the ripples from all these pebbles may reach well beyond parts of the pond that I can see—at least that is my hope. 

I hope to continue writing through the 2024 elections and beyond, but I am not young. I encourage you to sign up with and, if you’re able, to financially support the online publication of The writers of RANGE are young, vibrant, and focus on local events in the Inland Northwest. They offer details, links, and perspective not found elsewhere. They deserve our support. I hope they will persist long after I have fallen silent.

Have a great weekend and

Keep to the high ground,