Human beings are judgmental to the core. In the blink of an eye we assess and calculate and decide how things stack up. Somebody writes something and "boom" somebody else lines up to agree or disagree before you can say David W. Hoyle. We even do it to ourselves. Just look into your own mind. Right now you might be judging whether you're wasting your time reading this.
The hard truth is, being judgmental feels like a job to me - and sometimes it's not a job I like.
Like any "good" Democrat, I discount Republicans out of hand. Individuals may be fine, but as a collective, I judge them to be paternalistic extremists. Doing anything that enables them in any way is unconscionable.
Back before I knew Bob Orr, I harangued him because of his association with Art Pope. You might say I was brutal. Somewhere along the way, though, Orr responded to something I wrote, which led to us striking up an email conversation. I found him to be smart, sincere and decent, and have said so on several occasions. (I don't think he has a snowball's chance of being the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and I really don't want him to be governor, specifically because of his long-standing relationship with Pope.) My judgments about him changed.
Yesterday person named NC Advocate showed up here brandishing loyalty oaths because I've said nice things about a Republican candidate. Actually, the brandishing started because I said David Hoyle should retire from the North Carolina Senate. The Bob Orr stuff was thrown in for good measure.
To top it all off, NC Advocate argued that BlueNC has some kind of special status among news media, and therefore some special responsibility to faithfully represent the "voice of progressive Democrats." S/he suggest that encouraging a pro-business Democratic Senator to retire is not consistent with that voice because the seat could fall into Republican
NC Advocate has a point. It would be a tragedy for the Senate to flip into Republican control. So I really hope somebody is scrambling to recruit Hoyle's replacement in case he does bail out.
If Hoyle were to retire while Democrats still controlled the Senate, that would be just fine with me. As someone wrote to me today, a strong conservative Democrat in a position of influence like Hoyle's can have more negative effect on state policy than an equally (or even more) conservative Republican on the back bench in the minority.
I don't know if it's possible for people to avoid making judgments, although it's certainly possible to keep them to one's self.
That said, I lean toward transparency at almost every turn. More discussion about something is better than less, and the more public that discussion, the better. It's not always pretty, and there are some boundaries for sure, but it is a reliable path to insight.
David Hoyle could give a rat's ass about what I think. But in the off chance he's reading blogs these days, I'm glad he knows there's at least one voter out here who's not happy with his leadership.