Like many of you, I sign up for Google Adsense to try to make a little money off my blog. And I stress the word little.
I have no control over what Google's computers decide to put on my site. Some of the ads seem appropriate. But not all of them. And so I want everyone to know that just because an ad appears over there to the right, or down below this post, does not mean that I endorse the product or service in any way.
What got me concerned was an ad I saw asking in big bold letters: Defund Obamacare? Another, featuring a photo, prompted: Back Cruz?
When I saw those ads, my reaction was: Uh, oh. Are the politicos taking over my blog? I try to present my site as apolitical, in part because when you see a political argument these days -- whether there's a budget "deal" or not -- you usually know what it's going to say before you even read it, so what's the point. Also, politics have become so dirty, I'd almost rather have porno ads on my site than political ads. (Note to Adsense: I am not soliciting porno ads!)
But what really worries me is that the Adsense computers have decided my blog is somehow appealing to right wingers. That gives me shivers.
Not that I have anything against conservatives. I know a number of conservatives. Some of them fit the stereotype of judgmental, uncaring, self-centered misanthropes. Others, particularly (I've found) those who are religious, can be very caring of their fellow man, raising money for charity and even more impressively, putting their time and effort on the line to help people less fortunate than they are.
Conversely, I have a few friends who are, to borrow a phrase, Liberals In Name Only -- people who talk the liberal talk, but live in segregated neighborhoods, use every dodge to avoid paying taxes, and look down their noses at people less fortunate than they are. And I also know liberals who help build houses for the needy, who volunteer at the prison, who make every effort to recycle and lower their carbon footprint.
I don't mean to offend anyone. I guess I'm only saying the obvious: Some people talk the talk. Others walk the walk. And nobody has a monopoly on virtue. The only people who really bother me are those who hate people who don't agree with them. The liberals who rush to call people racists; those conservatives who jump on anyone who reveals the slightest bit of social responsibility.
As I pointed out this summer in How You Know Vacation Is Over, I don't agree that our country has become split in two, into Red groups and Blue groups. Maybe Washington has gone that way; maybe the media have gone that way. But most of the people I know in real life are reasonable individuals who see that many of our social and economic issues are not black and white, but range through shades of gray. And even if they do disagree, they can do it in a civilized manner.
Besides, I regard the current labels of Liberal and Conservative, as well as Democrat or Republican, as basically outmoded terms. Take any one of our social issues, from abortion to gay rights, and I think they fall as much into the personal moral realm as the political realm. Meanwhile, I don't understand how conservatives can be against conservation. I mean ... it's right there in the name: conserve! And unions are supposed to be liberal, but it seems most of the time they are defending the status quo, which is a conservative thing, isn't it?.
In addition, many political pundits make simplistic assumptions -- for example, that all poor people deserve what they get because they're lazy and irresponsible, or that all poor people are helpless victims of a predatory capitalistic system. But just because they say it, doesn't make it true. There are multiple causes of poverty, and of practically everything else.
Anyway, I have expressed a few opinions on my blog, but only a few -- in support of protecting the environment and putting reasonable regulations on guns, for example, and to the annoyance of some, I've argued in favor of obeying traffic laws. But for the most part, these issues are not particular to Baby Boomers or retirees, so why should I talk about them here?
There are plenty of other sites to go to if you want a political opinion -- for, as they say, opinions are like you-know-whats, everybody has one. All I'm really saying is that I don't think complicated issues can be reduced to a bumper sticker slogan. And I do not believe in the old canard -- if you're not for me, you're against me.
All by way of saying, the ads that appear here are beyond my control. I also saw one appealing to: Male Gamers Only! I don't know where that came from. Male video game players? Not exactly my demographic. So maybe those computers aren't so smart, after all. (And if anyone has suggestions on how to improve the ads on my site, I'd love to hear them.)
But regardless, I do not support any political ads that might appear on this blog, especially if they're suggesting that I favor any right-wing cause ... or left-wing cause, either. I'll speak for myself, thank you very much.