A good friend told me she is leaving the legal profession because she was tired of fighting all the time. I feel exactly that way about writing due to the political climate across the United States.
This column’s publication marks the third anniversary for this wonderful opportunity to make sense of a divisive society, both locally and nationally. I enjoyed writing for The Tribune because it provided personal discipline to get better. As a result, I wrote and published three books and gained an entire bank of friends I would otherwise have missed. I am a contrarian by nature, so writing a progressive opinion in a conservative community suited me just fine.
In September 2011, I learned I had developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. It is treatable, and, after six months of chemotherapy and a highly restricted lifestyle, the disease is in remission and my prognosis looks good for more productive years.
I have decided to use those years in more peaceful pursuits and no longer will write my column, which has tackled adversarial politics, racism disguised in ever so many ways and Texas trying to find a path to quality in public education.
In my columns, I wrote that many politicians do not seem interested in doing what is right to educate the children, help the poor or advance societal thinking. Football stadiums have a much higher priority than new classrooms or improved teacher salaries. My voice, then, along with my progressive colleagues’ voices, are sounds in the wilderness from which there is no echo.
My progressive friends always will have a very special place in my heart and memory; I was delighted to find them, and writing this column helped define those friendships. They provide the hope there will be a core group ready to implement the necessary changes when the political winds shift toward more community-oriented directions that calm and heal a terribly fragmented nation.
Pundits everywhere will keep trying to pry away people from their senses to promote their agendas at the expense of the community spirits that built this great nation. They operate out of self-interest and legalized greed while ignoring the poor — a tenet that defines most major religions.
For all these reasons I am retiring this column. I am very appreciative of the ownership and editorial staff of The River Cities Sunday Tribune and will always respect their judgment and generosity. I will occasionally write for the Texas progressive voice blog, but my weekly column will be no more. My thanks go to those who have supported my work here and those who have offered valid critiques. I could not have gotten better without you.
Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. His books are available on Amazon.com: "Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status" and "A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools." He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.