Policy, not personality, will be new focus

August 1, 2009 

Clarity is a wonderful thing. You can be plugging along in life day-by-day thinking everything is fine, when all of a sudden out of nowhere it hits you: a moment of clarity. You start seeing things differently.

For me, times of clarity have always come as a result of my faith. Over the past 30 years my relationship with God has been much like others I've had. It grows hot and cold. I will acknowledge I am to blame for the cold spurts. I have not always prioritized my relationship with God and I can point to this as the reason for most of the problems, heartaches and troubles I've experienced.

Despite my inconstancy and unfaithfulness, God has always come through for me. He pulls me out of jam after jam. Through reading the Bible he gives me wisdom, insight and guidance.

I have also experienced times when I would get a thought that would bring such intense inner peace and clarity, I knew it was from God. Jesus explained the phenomenon this way in John 10:27. "My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"

You say, what if you get a thought and you think it is from God but isn't? This is possible, but I believe that is what his word, the Bible is for. The Bible teaches scripture must back up everything.

Which brings me to a verse a friend recently shared with me. It is found in Ephesians and says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

When I heard this verse it instantly confirmed what I had suspected for some time. Too much of what was coming out of my radio show, Web site, and Sunday column was unwholesome. For some reason I had convinced myself it was my job to run down and criticize others. It is one thing to analyze policy and issues. It is an entirely different thing to tear down someone's character with personal attacks.

I will tell you I am ashamed of the way I have conducted myself publicly in recent years and frankly I am embarrassed by it too.

When I criticize politicians for the policies they propose, I have no right to assume I know their motives. They may honestly believe they are doing the right thing.

When State Sen. Hollis French held up a parental consent bill in his committee it infuriated me and I attacked him personally. What I should have considered is that French may have honestly believed he was doing the right thing. I had no right to say the things I said about him.

The same is true for other politicians I have torn down simply because the policies they favor didn't line up with my worldview.

So where do we go from here? If after this column I still have my Daily News gig and radio show, I am going to change the way I critique our leaders. I'll focus on policy and not the personal. Yes, if I believe a politician is acting corruptly I will say so, but only if there is ample evidence. I will not speculate on the motive behind a politician promoting a policy.

Does this change mean I will lose many of my radio listeners? Perhaps. But recently I've lost the joy in my work. It has become a grind. I now know why. If my profession calls for tearing down others to be successful, then I'll just have to find another career.

In conclusion, I want to publicly apologize to Sarah Palin, Sean Parnell, Hollis French, Art Hackney, Mark Begich, Frank Murkowski, Matt Claman, Lisa Murkowski, Don Young, Ivan Moore and too many others that limited space won't allow me to name.

Over the coming weeks I will be reaching out to each of these leaders and others and apologizing in person. I also apologize to those of you who have followed my work. I have let you down and I am sorry.


Dan Fagan hosts a talk show on AM 750, KFQD. You can reach him at faganreport@me.com.

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