Hello to my blog guests, and welcome to the party. I’m your host, Alison Dagnes, and I’m a political science professor at Shippensburg University in south central Pennsylvania. Noted political strategist and Ragin’ Cajun James Carville famously said that Pennsylvania was Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle. This puts me in southern Alabama of the mid-Atlantic region.
I’ve blogged before, once with a few professor friends about the “Invisible Primary,” and once about having cancer. This time, I’ve moved on to an even more depressing topic: the current polarized political media environment.
I enjoy blogging because it’s a way to keep my focus sharp, a way to connect the dots between my research (which is on political media) and current events (which almost always touch on political media). Blog postings are quick hits; short, hopefully enjoyable ways to spark a conversation or add to the public discussion. I’ve been trying to get this ball rolling for the past month, but I’ll confess here that I’ve been having a hard time.
It’s not for a lack of material, that’s for sure. I wrote a book about this topic that’s about to drop on Amazon so I’m fairly well-versed on the topic, plus our modern political climate gives me a meaty bone to gnaw on about every ten minutes. It’s not even for a lack of time, because I’m on sabbatical this semester and have the bandwidth to sit and ponder and opine. The reason it has taken me so long to get this blog off the ground is because I am truly despondent by our current state of affairs, and I feel totally rundown by the daily assault on the political system that I love.
I’m not kidding; it’s a total bummer. Since the biggest tool in my communication arsenal is humor, trying to find something funny amidst this hellscape has been tough. I sit in front of my computer, stare at the home screen for a very long time, and then retreat to my sofa and eat buttered pasta. As a result, my sabbatical has been less productive than I had hoped. And I’ve gained six pounds.
But I am nothing if not ambitious and I am a woman of my word. So, since I promised sabbatical productivity and I worked exhaustively on my book, I will put pen to paper, quill to parchment, finger to keyboard, and begin my promised extension of my research. When I get really sad, I vow to hit “delete” and not take it out on any readers. Or just “reader” (that’s you, Dad). In other words, I promise to make a discussion about the current angry state of American politics, the hyper-polarized news system, the attacks on journalists and the First Amendment, and the growing ideological divide in America not horrible. Or at least I will try.
I’ll strive to post every few days, and hope people (or just my Dad) will join in the conversation. I only ask that if you do respond, you do it civilly since that’s kind of my thing. The name of my book, by the way, is Super Mad at Everything All the Time because that’s the way the political media feel today and, as a result, that’s the way a lot of us feel today. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being super mad. So maybe this blog will be a sort of gestalt therapy (but without the role playing), or maybe it will just be another distraction in an already distracted world. I hope it will be enjoyable, entertaining, and gratifying. If not, please let me know: My Twitter handle is @RealDonaldTrump. Thank you!