The Pick of the Litter for 2020 – Useful for 2021, Too

You and I Shared 141 (!) Blogs This Year – Here are My Favorites (and maybe yours, too)

The Tradition of the Year End Review

Many writers and publishers do a Best of the Year publication at the end of every year. It’s a normal response to the turning of the calendar page into a new year. I have often suspected they did this to save the work of writing yet one more blog on the day the review is published. Having done this a couple of times now, I know better. It’s more work than one might expect going through your own work with an eye toward grading the outcomes. Holy smokes – 141 of these things?!

It’s also a bit difficult to select the posts to be highlighted. On the one hand, it feels a bit like choosing a favorite child. Seems unfair, somehow. Doing a review like this is also a lesson in humility. Some writings are better than others. One would like to think they all were worth the readers’ time. Still, inevitably, one finds an example or two which brings the thought, “I could have expressed that better.” Ah well, next year.

Time to Make Some Choices

This blog was always designed to focus mostly on political and social justice issues, but not exclusively. I have sought out a balance of science, technology, culture, society, and humor, to name a few areas of interest. But this was an election year and Donald Trump was on the ticket. That meant little else got my time and attention this year. Same for many of you, I expect.

Still, we did wander through several fields of inquiry and decisions about what was important this year. I have a few more that make my favorite list, but hey, its almost New Year’s Eve. People need to conserve time and energy for more important things, like drinking champaign, and contemplating Donald Trump without his Twitter account. So, a short list follows.

Here are my top six choices for Agents of Reason posts this year. If you missed any of them, I commend them to you. If you would like to revisit some old friends, please do. I enjoyed doing that. If you have one you think should have made the list, let us know.

Bill’s Top Six for 2020

Here are my choices, in no particular order.

  1. Pay No Attention to the Little Man Behind the Curtain.

    I will take some credit for saying a while back that as dangerous and evil as Donald Trump is, that in the end he is a shallow, hollow shell of a man. I thought he would largely self-destruct in the end and would in due course fade into obscurity. He has done incredible damage, and remains a cancer on the nation, but obscurity and troubles will shortly consume him.

  2. Joe Biden was Right All Along.

    I made it clear throughout the year that Biden was not my choice for the candidacy, nor my second choice. Not because I thought he would be a terrible president, but because it was likely he would be a terrible candidate (again). Indeed, he was terrible at the outset, but following the SC primary, he got his second wind and never looked back. This may well turn out to the right man at the right time. It was important that he above all others saw this as “a battle for the soul of the nation.” The man deserves credit for knowing what this was all about, from Day 1.

  3. The Movement for Racial Justice is at a Crossroads – Which Model Will It Chose?

    We have never had a national dialogue about race like the one we are having now, in fits and starts. The potential is enormous – so very much is at stake. I don’t know if we will finally come close to getting this right or not. There are lots of reasons to think not, many bits of evidence to indicate we might yet.

    This is going on at so many levels in so many ways. All of us, of every race, have a stake in this. So many of us, collectively and individually, have myriad opportunities to fail at this. May we rise to the occasion, as individuals and as a nation. So much else will not get right if we cannot crack this one in substantive ways, at last.

  4. Leadership Right Under Our Noses, Just When We Need It.

    This was written very early in the pandemic and much before the national elections, but what was said in this post rings true even more now. In so many communities, cities, and states, local leaders, elected and appointed, have done the right thing. They often did so in the face of overwhelming odds, withering pressure, even death threats. This includes more judges than I might have hoped to see doing so.

    This is not a clean list. More than a few governors and legislators have shown themselves completely lacking in judgment, courage, empathy, or conscience. Many of them are already at work to restrict voting for the next election. But a lot have stood their ground when we needed them. Those that have done so join the pantheon of heroes already populated by medical personnel, first responders, and front-line workers who stood by us, even when we have failed to support them as we should.

  5. And Now, a Musical Interlude.

    A rare post on something nonpolitical this year. A reminder of the power and grace of music in our lives. All kinds of music. Many of us came to rely on the arts for solace and respite this year. The arts did not fail us, although many are hanging on by a thread. Every dollar you contributed to the arts or ticket you bought for a virtual performance was money invested in healing our nation. Money well spent, as always.

  6. Being Clear about “Religious Freedom” and “Freedom of Speech.”

As political and cultural tensions heightened this year, we heard a lot of sniveling and push back from conservative circles. I am pleased to see people are increasingly not accepting the flawed arguments; that “religious freedom” does not mean you are free to impose your religious values on others. Similarly, “freedom of speech” does not mean you are free to avoid condemnation when you speak garbage.

In this country far more than most, you are free to say a lot. You are also free to accept responsibility for the consequences. Here you also have the opportunity to explain yourself and to hear others who reject your conclusions. Freedom runs in both directions. Grow up and stop trying to mold the entire country into your choices. We don’t go for that here.

Feel Free to Browse — And Get Ready for 2021

You may have noticed that when you arrive on my blog’s landing page, you will see hot links to the last half dozen or so posts. But you may not have noticed at the bottom of that page is a CATEOGIRES link. Click here and you will find just under a dozen categories, with links to all the posts in that area.

There is also, at the top of the page, a SEARCH box, in which a key word or phrase might help you browse. Feel free to use either of these tools to look around.

Thank you for being a part of this extended range discussion group this year. For many of you, thank you for being a part of this since the beginning, going now into three years. Amazing to contemplate. We have our hands full for 2021, don’t we? Glad we will be doing much of this together. Happy New Year everyone.

        Bill Clontz

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2 replies to The Pick of the Litter for 2020 – Useful for 2021, Too

  1. I reread #6 because I feel these rights are seriously misunderstood by many. This blog clearly states the intent of the founders in writing the Constitution, and the inferred responsibility we have to act accordingly. Thanks for condensing these important rights into one clearly stated document. Also, thanks for publishing this blog in large type. So much easier to read than most others.

    • Thanks, Jerry. I agree – people tend to interpret rights and forget responsibilities. And I am glad the print is readable! Have a great New Year, friend.

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