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My last column ... almost

Friday, November 30, 2012

After the written attacks I've suffered over the past couple of weeks, I had decided late Monday afternoon that I had had enough. I have never minded trading good-natured barbs with people but the good-natured part of it stopped some time ago.

Because I have political views that don't agree with the majority view around here, I am ostracized by a good many people in the region. And what's really troublesome is that these attacks are more personal than political, even though my political writings have not been personal at all, save the one time I wrote that Dick Trail has been more dependent on the government than he might want people to know.

That's why I try and stay away from writing about politics in my column because I know I have a minority view. When Bruce Crosby hired me away from Mike O'Dell and the Weekender newspaper 15 years ago, he told me one of the reasons was that I wrote from a perspective that the people in this area weren't getting from anyone else and we both thought that was a good thing. Even though I still believe that no one can have a clear understanding of the choices facing them without knowledge from both sides of the issue, I have suffered greatly from being the deliverer of the other side of the coin.

I guess it must be an age thing because that didn't use to bother me. I enjoyed presenting the other side because I believed the other side was the right place to be, regardless of how many lined up against me. But when you drive through town and nobody waves at you, and you go shopping at Walmart and nobody speaks to you, and you go to happy hour and people are confrontive with you, it eventually begins to wear on you. I'm not whining here, just writing from the heart. When I'm personally attacked, it's hurtful and few people would enjoy that. And to make things worse, I know there are other people in this area who share my feelings about things but they are oh so quiet when debates erupt. They're not seen and they're not heard.

So a really amazing thing happened to me in the days following my decision to retire from column writing. I went to Walmart and four different people told me they enjoyed reading my columns. That's never happened before in the same visit. I received three phone calls at home and four e-mails saying the same thing. This had happened occasionally before but certainly not so many in such a short period of time and I had told no one about my decision to quit. So you can see what I mean when I call it an amazing thing. Why they all decided to compliment me at once, without knowing that others were doing it too, will remain a mystery to me. But it's those people that made me rethink my decision.

And because of a message left on my answering machine, I found out, at least to some degree, why my supporters remain quiet and invisible. It was from a person who owns a business in the area and he said that as much as he supports me, he cannot afford to alienate even one customer with any kind of public support for either me or my perspectives. It was the reason I had suspected for a long time but this was the first time anyone had ever come out and admitted it.

Because Republicans outnumber Democrats by over a four-to-one margin in this area, obviously most of his customers are Republican and if he publicly supports a Democrat, his business is likely to suffer. And since I know how both Republicans and Democrats roll, I'm sure that's true.

So to make a long story short, I guess I'll write a few more columns. I don't like alienating people and making them angry and upset because I chose McCook as my home town, it didn't choose me. I could have gone in a lot of different directions when I applied for a teaching job at the college but this was the place I picked and this is where I've stayed. I enjoy it most of the time. I socialize with people, play golf with people, and hang out with people who are mostly Republicans. We just always agree not to talk about politics because few if any people have ever been won over to the other side during a political discussion that, more often than not, ends up in a political argument.

Now that the election is over, I'll try and stay away from politics as much as possible because I know what I write is going to be disliked by most of you. A movie star once said, "I don't care what they say about me as long as the spell my name right."

I used to be that way too. I'm not anymore.

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Don't let a few agitators stop you from writing about the topics that you want to write about! Criticism is tough, harsh words are tough but as an American this is the burden of free speech. Don't be silenced or pushed into another direction, continue to exercise your freedoms!


-- Posted by AtikusKhuda on Fri, Nov 30, 2012, at 3:21 PM

Good luck not being political, as ALL topics can be twisted into becoming a discussion of politics.

-- Posted by BlackRifle on Fri, Nov 30, 2012, at 3:50 PM

Sort Of Drama Queenish.

-- Posted by bob s on Fri, Nov 30, 2012, at 4:47 PM

need a something to dry your eyes mike

-- Posted by BUGMAN404 on Fri, Nov 30, 2012, at 5:24 PM

Mr. Hendricks~

I hope you continue to write your article...it is a sad day when small minded supposedly "Christian" people treat you as mentioned above...I know you're not whining and you should be able to share your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs...I hope people realize how immature and pathetic they are being and start treating you like a neighbor no matter your personal beliefs and opinions. Please continue to write so that other sides can be heard! There is a saying I learned from an awesome literature teacher in High School in Wauneta..."Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"...we need to hear other opinions other than the "right"winged side!

-- Posted by happyhealer on Fri, Nov 30, 2012, at 8:36 PM

Grandmajo - why would you say that mike at night had called "folks "racist" for no reason other than to hurl insults at those who disagree with you!" I read that article - he doesnt even say that. Not even close. Read it again. Dont read dick Trails interpretation of it - read the article itself. Dick trail gets this wrong as well.

-- Posted by bob s on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 10:38 AM

Mike, you hit a nerve when you accused people of being racist because they disagreed with Obama and his policies. It's the conservatives who have kept quiet as to not offend, but not so much now. People have had enough of it and are speaking out. If you can't understand that, then maybe it is time to leave.

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 10:55 AM

bob s, I went through my newspapers to find the November 16-18 original article by Mike and reread it. No, he didn't call folks racist for no other reason than to hurl insults at those who disagree with him, BUT he DID say "Racism was the underlying current in both of Obama's races for the Presidency...".

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 12:27 PM

sleeping giant - he is probably correct here. We have a black person and a white person running for president. There are black people who wont vote for a white person if there is a black person running as well. They will vote for the black person regardless of issues. There are white people who wont vote for the black person if there is a white person running as well. They will vote for the white person regardless of the issues. This gets more complicated when you look at minority population in general. Some minorities will stick with the other minorities. This is a very interesting kind of discussion. It gets even more interesing as one looks to the future. As the racial composition of the country alters, how does this affect voting. Voting patterns. Anyway - there seemed to be a lot of this going on in the last 2 elections. THIS is what he is talking about. Sometimes i look at this " mike at night" situation and think maybe someone is just missimg the message. That they are seeing the wrong thing. Other times i look at it and think that perhaps what they are doing is intentionally skewing things to make mike at night look bad. And since tomorrow is sunday , let me preach some here. IF a person is intentionally misstating mike at night in an effort to have him persecuted by others, that is what is called bearing false witness. This is one of the Christian sins. Believe it or not , it is. One of the 10 commandments. To say that someone has done something he did not do in an effort to bring him harm. Most people dont know that.

-- Posted by bob s on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 5:45 PM

Se la vie, I have lived in the belly of the left wing beast for 35 years here in the bay area. Just shake it off like a ball player. You can't tease pit-bulls without getting bit once or twice.

-- Posted by Keda46 on Sat, Dec 1, 2012, at 10:29 PM

Bob, don't pat youself on the back too much regarding your religion lesson. If most people don't know what "bearing false witness" is, it is only because Christianity in itself is not over 50% of the world's religion. Im pretty sure that Christians for the most part know what it means AND it's of the 10 Commandments. The Christians that aren't aware of the 10 Commandments aren't really very Christian wouldn't you agree? Thanks for the lesson; however, I suspect that most people in the bible belt here ARE indeed aware of that.

-- Posted by Nick Mercy on Sun, Dec 2, 2012, at 5:22 PM

ok nick - I just didn't want people spending an eternity in hell without knowing why. Just trying to be helpful. Giving them a heads up.

-- Posted by bob s on Sun, Dec 2, 2012, at 6:28 PM

Mike keep up the good work, don't let the few that

spend their life living in their narrow little

world get you down. Pity them.

-- Posted by S&P1958 on Sun, Dec 2, 2012, at 6:37 PM

It is amazing to me when columnists spew their opinions and clearly imply members of one particular party are racists or sexists or myriad other derogatory things and then take issue with personal attacks in response to their personal attack. Thin skinned doesn't begin to describe it. You won't lay off politics because you enjoy poking conservatives in the ribs. In the time it takes to get back into political rib poking we can enjoy MORE columns on the infatuation with a woman who left a narcissist, more columns on drinking and concerts, the annual Thanksgiving tragedy, the pro divorce mantra, and over and over and over. Maybe the retiring was the correct choice as your predictability is certain. As was the genetic pre-disposition to quit and then not quit.

-- Posted by marriedugly on Mon, Dec 3, 2012, at 10:25 AM

marriedugley, I agree wholeheartedly. Mike's predictability is very certain and I will not miss his column, especially after this last one where he shows surprise at people being offended. Please retire, Mike.

-- Posted by sleeping*giant on Mon, Dec 3, 2012, at 11:36 AM

The 1st amendment gives you the right to freedom of speech. It does not guarantee that using that freedom won't cost you anything.


-- Posted by JohnGalt1968 on Mon, Dec 3, 2012, at 6:01 PM

John Galt - Maybe what you want to say here is that the government allows free speach. But, that would not prevent your neighbor from whacking with a 2x4. That would be covered by criminal law or tort law. Something like that. Or , as in this situation, it may cause snubbing. And that wouldn't involve tort or criminal liability. I suppose it's always good to know that no matter how hard the framers of the constitution or bill of rights may have tried, one can find a way to administer punishment to one whose words another may find offensive. We should all be happy about that. Those goofy writers of the bill of rights and constitution. You just cant help laughing at their feeble attempts.

-- Posted by bob s on Mon, Dec 3, 2012, at 8:38 PM

I have to say I am not a fan of yours. I used to read your column now & then but I don't care for most of your subjects. With that I don't think you should allow people to influence your decision whether to stay in this area or move away. I am also a Republican. Does that mean I don't like you? NO. We should respect each others beliefs & opinions! That is what makes us individuals. Lastly, I am not prejudiced either. God created all of us equal in His eyes. Period. Unfortunately these days people want to blame everyone else for their troubles... take it with a grain of salt & continue on.

-- Posted by PattyH1956 on Wed, Dec 5, 2012, at 8:35 AM


Keep up the good work. You are providing what is definitely needed in this area which is another perspective. Our Conservative Christian friends lack so much insight on what goes on in other parts of this state and this country. As a matter of fact, most of them are brainwashed by Fox News and hang on every word that is spoken without using their own brains. At least people should take the time to see how much they're missing and taking advantage of the growth of America and its diversity.

Take Care,


-- Posted by GRITS76 on Tue, Feb 5, 2013, at 11:56 AM

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Mike Hendricks
Mike at Night