I am, by nature, a passionate man, one who believes strongly about issues that I feel should concern most of us. When I encounter others that don’t share my passions, I am too often dismissive of them, their feelings and their points of view.
Passion, depending on usage, is an asset or a deterrent, a trait that draws people closer or drives them away. The same passion that defines my life also controls it and control is a double-edged sword.
So I debate with a passion that borders on fanaticism, looking for a weakness in my opponent and then exploiting it without mercy. It is not an admirable trait but one that has served me well for most of my 58 years.
A fine line exists between passion and anger, between focus and fanaticism, between measured disagreement and blind rage.
I cross that line often. Sometimes I feel regret for damage inflicted as a result, sometimes I do not. It depends on whether I respect my adversary or dismiss the opponent as someone unworthy of time or effort.
Arrogant? Absolutely. Presumptuous? Decidedly so. Self-serving and egotistical? Without a doubt.
I became a journalist because of a passionate anger over racial injustice encountered as a young man in Prince Edward County, Virginia, a locality controlled by racists in the 1950s and 60s, a hotbed of intolerance where a school board and government closed the public schools to avoid integration and then opened a private, whites-only school backed by the county.
I’ve never understood racism or bigotry or intolerance yet I’m intolerant of those who don’t share my views – a hypocritical position at best – and that dichotomy of views often results in anger that is directed as much at myself as at others.
And it is that dichotomy that sometimes makes me doubt the wisdom of continuing to write, continuing to let my passion rule and flirt with that fine line between righteous debate and self-righteous indignation.
I faced just this crisis of confidence recently on Capitol Hill Blue and the readers responded by making it clear that the rewards justify the risk.
Likewise, my thoughts of remaking Muse into something else have been shelved by the voices of reason that have come this weekend in comments here and, more often, by email.
You’ve said you like this little spot of sanity in an insane world and the pieces of personal introspection that evolve from it. That I can continue. You’ve asked for more photography. That is also something I can deliver.
In the end, the decision was yours, not mine. But it was the right one nonetheless.