Over the past few weeks, I’ve mainly been focusing on my classes at Northern Kentucky University, both the super-intense three week class I’m currently teaching (American Politics in Film) and the four classes I’ll be teaching when our spring semester starts on Monday.
But in addition to that, I’ve been thinking about something lots of people think about this time of year: resolutions for the new year. I have some personal resolutions (none of which I’ve broken – at least not yet) as well as a couple of resolutions for The Politics Guys, which I’d like to share with you.
My first resolution is to use social media more thoughtfully. Last year, I too often succumbed to the temptation to post something inflammatory, or superficial, or snarky. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy inflammatory, superficial, snarky stuff as much as the next guy, but Facebook and Twitter are already overflowing with that. You don’t need more of it from me, and this year I’m resolving to limit my social media posts to things that pose thoughtful questions or somehow serve to advance political conversation in a sane and rational manner.
My second resolution is to give Politics Guys listeners more in-depth debate. Back in the early days of the show, Jay and I regularly featured mid-week shows in which we picked out an issue or two and really dug into it. Last year, we turned almost exclusively to interviews and listener question shows. I think they were some great shows, but a number of listeners have told me that they missed those in-depth debates. You’ll get more of those in 2018.
I’m telling you about these resolutions because I’m hoping you’ll hold me to them. If you think I’m slacking, please let me know. And if you have any suggestions for debate shows, definitely pass those along (you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
I’ll close with a new year’s recommendation. I’m sure you know the importance of seeking out views that conflict with your own – if you didn’t, you wouldn’t listen to the Politics Guys podcast or read this blog. But I know how difficult it is to commit to following ‘the other side’. Here’s a suggestion: pick out one decent columnist whose views tend to differ from yours and make a point of reading them on a regular basis. I’d suggest making it someone who isn’t a ‘paint-by-numbers’ ideologue: you know the type – someone whose views you know even before you hear from them. Find someone decent and respectable and – most important – someone who might just surprise you every once in a while.
I’ve got a couple of suggestions here. My fellow liberals might want to give Tyler Cowen a try. He’s a hugely intelligent conservative economist who I hold in the highest regard, even though I think he’s off-base about plenty of things. He blogs at Marginal Revolution as well as at Bloomberg View. (He’s also written a great mini-book call Stubborn Attachments that I’m currently in the middle of. He posted the whole thing on Medium, so you can check it out for free.)
If you’re a conservative, you might want to give Jonathan Bernstein a try. He’s a political scientist who used to run a blog called ‘A Plain Blog About Politics’ until the folks at Bloomberg View plucked him out of semi-obscurity to give him the platform his well-reasoned, thoughtful articles and links deserved.
One final thing before I sign off. Listener response to my food politics mini-podcast episode was very positive, and so I’ve decided to record more. One thing I’m not sure of is the best day to release them. Our weekend news analysis shows drop on Saturday afternoon and our midweek show hits your podcast app Wednesday morning. When would you like to see a food politics episode? (And while I’m thinking of it, what do you think of my spinning off the food politics show and making it its own thing?)
I hope you had a great 2017 and that you’re looking forward to the new year as much as I am. (I can’t wait for those elections in November!)