A curse and a blessing


Tyler Murphy

A blog, a column, a feature. The editorial paths that allow a writer an opportunity to express a personal view. These incredible avenues of reaching the public can be quite intimidating. Not only that but in a dedicated readership such as ours the opinions offered can often draw acclaim and complaint from people you’ll see routinely in the community. These challenges are the same when writing and publishing any work but an editorial has but one voice and one person responsible for its stated content, the writer.

At first I used to be fixated on the idea of routinely writing any creative piece but over time the anxiety of scrutiny and the vulnerability felt after sharing an intimate or controversial point of view has a way of corroding inspirations.

After first being hired there was this honest but somewhat ignorant obviousness to things political or unpopular. It was an advantage but as one gains experiences, acquaintances and even friends in the local workings of government, law enforcement and the community you find it harder to conclude your own personal perspective.

Being the court reporter for the last few years I’ve also dedicated myself to looking for the silver lining and the Achilles’ heel in every argument and training myself to keep my own thoughts apart from my professional work. Columns and blogs often feel like a personal script most of us would jot down in a diary or social networking site.

I’m proud to say that there is rarely any topic, local or global, where I can’t find two intelligent people in my life that share completely differing views. I enjoy a good round of reasonable debate with someone attempting to convert me over to their set of ideals.

Walking this three year-plus line at the newspaper between topics and opinions has at times made me skeptical of beliefs I was once so sure of. Sometimes I feel like I’m carrying out a never ending diagnostic of my personal thoughts to ensure they meet the ever changing logic gained through my day to day learning experiences.

Here’s an good example involving the economy. Personally I think public sector employees’ current contracts and expectations exceed the means of our fiscal reality. Those of us working in the private sector have come to realize that profitability is the end all be all in sustaining salary and benefits. If you don’t make any money you don’t get any money.

The public sector isn’t the same animal as a private business because they are created to generate a service and not necessarily to make a profit. I understand this. The thing is blue collar private sector employees are tossed scraps when comparing their contracted medical benefits and annual salary raises to public unionized employees.

I think public sector unions and administrators have basically had it too good for too long and now they are caught in a strange sort of cultural shock because their earnings have to be corrected after years of over spending. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really care but it’s my and your money we’re spending here.

A lot of people work hard and I don’t think you can say public sector employees work harder or are more important than the rest of us. Certain state teamster stereo types actually embody the opposite. So why shouldn’t their means be approximately the same as their private sector counterparts?

Providing a public service doesn’t give you the right to have a blank check. When the encumbering costs of maintaining those systems begins to hurt the public’s interest then it’s time to cut some people loose and maybe take a second look at revamping the whole retirement system.

I’m going to go home now and feel the wraith of my state employed parents, my father especially because he was a former CSEA local union president. I’m sure he’ll be quick to point out I grew up on their state paychecks.

At the same time anyone of my struggling private sector friends who aren’t in a union, most receiving less medical benefits and retirement packages, (raising my hand) will sing my praise. Of course some of these same friends would kill to have these jobs I’m being critical of.

Such is life.