Nation, when I first put virtual pen to paper 10 years ago today, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
My utter lack of recognition about the level of commitment this blog would require of me was fairly evident by the end of the first paragraph, when I mentioned I'd be writing for "days, weeks and months to come".
So here I am, 3653 days later... 521 weeks later... 120 months later... still plugging away.
There have been some major changes in my life during that time. My politics haven't changed very much, I don't think - but the parties themselves certainly have. As they should.
In the 10 years since this blog started (the first several years of which I worked hard to maintain my anonymity), I've parlayed it into appearances on radio and television and in print. My writing here has helped get me onto the PC Party Board where I served for 4 years. It helped me almost win a nomination for provincial office. I've been invited to cover AGMs and Leadership Forums for multiple parties. I've been asked to moderate election forums, debates and town halls. I've been asked to help prep and run candidates at both the municipal and provincial levels. I have set up other blogs, with other bloggers, and we have won awards from our peers.
All of this, because of this little blog. A blog I started because I didn't think the media was doing its job, and they were ignoring candidates for the PC Leadership who could potentially win and become Premier, in their haste to paint the race as a 2-horse sprint between Jim Dinning and Ted Morton.
I don't write here as much any more, because my attention gets pulled in many more directions than it did at the time. With the rise of Facebook as a social media monolith, and the advent of Twitter as a forum for political views and breaking news being aired in virtually real-time, the "long form discussion" that I favour here has become something that people have less time for, and less inclination to read to the end. "TL;DR" is a thing, and I can't help but feel partly responsible. So I've modified my writing and my delivery methods for most things and kept them off the blog, rather than watering it down with a tonne of 100-word posts. I always felt like those wouldn't meet your expectations, and I never wanted to disappoint you.
I want to make it perfectly clear: I'm nobody special. Absolutely anyone reading this can do EXACTLY what I've done with this blog over the past 10 years. I'm not smarter than you, I'm not more gifted than you, and I'm not deserving of any extraordinary reputation. I'm just a guy who wanted his city, province, and country to be better governed, saw a way he could contribute to the discussion, and went ahead and tried. Whether I've been in the slightest bit successful in my "mission to civilize" when looking at the current debate is very much an open question. But I DID try. And I continue to try.
I've had many mentors, made many friends, and seen many fellow bloggers start or end their on-line careers over the decade I've been doing this. In particular, I want to recognize Duncan Wojtaszek and Ken Chapman for their early support and encouragement, Blake Robert and Dave Cournoyer for playing along with my ridiculous little good-natured "feuds" that I stirred up from time to time, and Kirk Schmidt, who went from blogger to candidate for MP to one of my closest friends. I owe a big debt of gratitude as well to the actual, honest-to-goodness media - particularly Jason Markusoff, David Gray and Jen Gerson - for their acceptance of me as someone who was worth talking to or who was invited to events as "media". I felt like a child among grown-ups each and every time, but my lack of training never stopped them from treating me with respect even when they had little actual reason to do so. Bloggers from the other side of the aisle also made me feel welcome, whether they be Derrick and Jane from the Wildrose Party, Vince and Dan from the Liberal side of things, or David and his left-wing loons over on the NDP side of things. You all made me want to get better at this. And you all helped me realize that "opponent" and "enemy" aren't the same thing.
Lastly, to you Nation: Thank-you for your patronage over the past 10 years. I will continue to write about subjects I don't think are getting enough attention, or which I think are too important to be discussed on Facebook walls or in 140 character nibbles. I will try to give you information you're not finding in the mainstream narrative - just as I did on the first day this blog came to be.
Politics has been kind to bloggers lately. There's no shortage of things to write about in this city, province, country or continent.
Here's to the next 10!
- Enlightened Savage