Media Monday: I am intrigued

This article came across my news feed yesterday. You may have seen it, read it, ignored it, commented on it yourself. I am intrigued and want to know more.

***U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Senator Sanders leads a hearing on "The State of VA Health Care" on Capitol Hill in Washington

Why, you may ask?

I think this country needs change, needs new voices in leadership. I am not someone who favors our majority two party political system at the national level. I understand that candidates have the right to run on platforms other than our socially accepted and reinforced standard of Democrat or Republican. I, in fact, typically identify with the Democratic party, especially when pressed to choose. I do not have much that is good, or positive, or accepting to say of the Republican party so I simply won’t. As long as I have been of age to vote I have, in situations where I must choose either Democrat or Republican, chosen Democrat. In local elections, if given a choice, and as warranted, I have often voted outside both of those two parties.

I also hold immense issue with the way our two party system controls the ability for other voices to be heard, and have the opportunity to lead. I know of the arguments, and while I don’t debate that there are worse choices and worse systems of governance, I do take a negative stance on elected officials placing greater emphasis on their party line than governing and representing the people of America.

I have long suspected that I hold fairly strong socialist tendencies, yet I am not 100% on board necessarily with a complete adoption of socialist principles.

Reading of this possible new candidate, Bernie Sanders, is exciting, especially as I have had no previous knowledge of his political background or service. While I currently would back Hilary Clinton (if and when she decides to announce a candidacy) I want to hear of and continue to learn more about Senator Sanders, especially if he opts to run under a Democratic ticket, for we all know that he will never advance as an Independent.

***photo from Reuters.com/Jim Bourg

Reaching out and finding reward

I talked the other day about being an engaged blogger. I have also finished the annual change in theme and a much needed update to my “About” page. I also made the decision to correct my long neglect of reaching out to other bloggers by actively searching out interesting blogs to follow.

The rewards of this work are many. They come in the form of many more likes, and many more followers to this blog and I truly appreciate that so many of you are stopping by.

I can fully understand the role of the interested, yet not quite ready to commit, liker or follower. I also know that it is partly my responsibility, when I receive a like or follow from someone new, to seek out their blog. I almost always go to their own “About” page first to get an overall impression. I usually read a few random posts as well.

Sometimes I connect right away. Often that is because my interests are very similar to the new bloggers. Sometimes though, a blogger will begin to follow my blog for reasons that don’t seem all that clear. Here’s and example.

I occasionally post pictures that I have taken, yet I am not a photographer in any sense of the word. By tagging the blog, or using a category heading of Photos or Photography, I sometimes receive likes, or even follows from bloggers who are using this overall blogging forum to showcase amazing photographic work. I can’t help but be curious about those bloggers. I can easily see why they publish on WordPress, yet I wonder what it is that made them decide to hit the like button or the follow tab for my blog.

Another example.

I am trying to get back into my pre-student routine of reading for pleasure. To be honest, that has been hard. When you are told what to read for over four years, and how to comment on that reading using specific formats, you tend to read a novel with an eye to key passages, an extreme need to highlight or underline, or find yourself taking notes for unknown reasons. All of that detracts greatly from simply enjoying the novel for what it is: a work of imaginative fiction.

I will often share my thoughts on these books under the guise of What I’m Reading, my take on a very informal review. When I publish these types of posts I often find likes and even some new followers who are usually tied to blogs about literature, book clubs, specific genres, etc. Yet once more, I wonder just what it is about that particular blog post that made this new blogger like my site.

So, I have a challenge, both for my existing liker’s and follower’s as well as anyone new who stops by with this post. I am incredibly grateful that you chose to hit like or follow, but tell me why, please. Just a few words, a simple comment, something to allow me to gain greater insight into the people who stop by my blog. I know many of us follow a large number of blogs. This was a big reason why I kept my follows close and small. It can often seem impossible to comment to everyone. Sometimes you just don’t have much too say even if you like the writing. Sometimes, you decide that it’s even better NOT to comment, although I hope that we respect each other enough as writers to voice our opinions openly and respectfully.

I have made a promise to myself to try to do more than just routinely hit the like button. If the comments I make are viewed and read then I have engaged with others around me. Even a small word can help us to gain better understanding, and the ability to share with fellow bloggers. If the comments I make are ignored, or time is short for reading them, I can still (perhaps selfishly) feel as if I reached out and maybe inspired some sort of connection.