Thank You Politically Speaking
Politically Speaking was one of the best political journals on Medium.
But I had the privilege of editing for it, so I’m biased. (But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong.)
The closure of the journal a couple of weeks ago has left a gap in my intellectual fabric that I didn’t fully appreciate until just recently. I was thinking about how to process this turn of events when I thought of something Scott Tarlo, the editor-in-chief, once said. He noted that writing about the turbulent political times we live in seems to be therapy for some authors. Of course, he was spot on. So I decided to do what we do here — write.
On learning the news I thanked Scott (of course) for the opportunity, support, and guidance he provided over several months. Aside from the Herculean task of editing an ever-increasing flow of submissions, he had to spend time answering countless questions from his editorial team. Well, at least from me. Katherine Valentino is an amazing editor and was likely lower maintenance.
But I also owe a debt of gratitude to the many great writers I met while reviewing their work. Writers like Dustin Arand, Pluralus, George Dillard, and David Martin to name just a few. I didn’t want to let PS just fade into memory without letting all of them know how much the experience affected me. I learned so much — both about the issues of the day and about a well-constructed paragraph or essay. I’m not so proud to hide the fact that some of the essays you submitted had me scrambling to the google machine or AP style guide to double-check spelling, usage, and other things that just didn’t seem quite right. Often they were just fine and I learned something. It helped me immensely, both in future editorial work but also in my own writing. Listening to all of your voices helped me gain more confidence in my voice.
To my knowledge, Politically Speaking did not have robust representation from across the political spectrum. Like much of our politics today, writers were likely speaking to like minded readers. And that’s OK. I wouldn’t say many of the writers were liberal, but most recognized the threat to democracy posed by the rise of Trumpism and authoritarianism in the…