Hello. My name is Rico and I’m a B4Ver. My last comment was 12 days ago.
I became a B4Ver over 10 years ago. I managed occasional episodes of sobriety during that time, but I always went back. This time feels different though. I guess we’ll see.
I started commenting on B4V in early 2003, looking for a way to discuss the Iraq invasion. The way Bush went about it didn’t make sense to me, and I thought maybe they could provide the information I was missing. At first it was great. Lots of people were there with lots of different points of views. I had many excellent discussions with all kinds of different people. I learned a lot, and not just about the Iraq invasion either. We talked about tax structures, about economic recovery, about the GINI index and the hollowing out of the middle class, about evolution, all kinds of things. It was very addictive.
Then, in late 2004, I had my first episode with sobriety. It wasn’t something I planned, it was enforced: I was banned. I don’t recall exactly why, but think it was because I said something that wasn’t totally positive about a Republican candidate. After about a month (which, “coincidentally”, was soon after Bush’s re-election) I decided to shoot Matt Margolis an email asking him what was up. According to him it was all just a big misunderstanding and I was reinstated.
There were a couple of additional enforced sobriety episodes in the ensuing years, but for some reason I kept going back. And then, in early 2009, I just left of my own accord. Cold turkey, as it were. I was gone for well over a year, but then I picked up the habit again. I am so ashamed.
I am especially ashamed because by then the site had changed. It was no longer a forum where one could express one’s opinion openly and get valid, reasoned replies. Well, I suppose you could if your opinion happened to be the officially sanctioned one. If not you were ridiculed continuously in the most unsavory manner. It was hard to get a fact in edgewise.
And it kept getting more ugly. Comments started getting deleted. Then they started disappearing altogether, like black outs, leaving just vague traces of memory. The weird thing was, whatever memories I had of them seemed pretty innocuous. But I was told they weren’t. Then the people that posted them started disappearing, too. Lots of them. It got to the point where the place was emptying out faster than the corner bar at closing time. About the only ones left was a small coterie of true believers. And if you expressed an opinion that differed even a little from the approved dogma you were instantly harassed not by opposing facts but by epithets. You were marginalized, excoriated, and eventually exterminated. Yes, my latest attempt at sobriety is again an enforced one.
All I can say is, thank God. I was becoming a rabid animal, too comfortable with my baser instincts. Sarcasm had begun to slip off my tongue like drool. Condescension started coming as natural as puking. I was, in short, becoming one of them. Fortunately, I found this help site, AllPolytics Now, and it’s companion, Rebutting Blogs For Victory, to assist in my recovery. It’s been like a breath of fresh air! I see many other B4Vers here, hoping like I to recover from the crusted up, stultified and petrified place B4V has become. It’s a veritable B4Ver’s Anonymous meeting that’s always in session!
The guys at AllPolytics Now have even been so kind as to allow me to post this testimonial (and maybe some other things in the future). And I’d like to use the opportunity to invite those that remain at B4V to check it out here. Just remember… if it hasn’t killed you it’s never too late. Come to our meetings and see what you think. It might help you dry out and clear your head of the thought-stifling, insidious cancer that has become the norm over there. Especially considering the perspective you’re used to the elephants may be a little pinker here, but is that so bad? Perhaps a challenge or two might help you enjoy thinking again. Couldn’t hurt, might help, right? But just so you know, though you don’t have to be particularly clean, you do have to try to be sober and clear-headed. Try to come armed with facts and reasoned arguments, not a plethora of ad-hominem attacks and senseless, spiteful diatribe. The latter are just the illness talking. They are not appreciated here and may end up getting you kicked out. After all, this is a place to reform, not to rekindle that which is killing you.
Thank you for listening. Rico.