Eleven years ago next month RedState started and a struggling lawyer from Middle Georgia emailed some dude with an email address at Tacitus.org (trust me when I tell you not to visit that site now) to say he’d be willing to cover Georgia politics. After all, he — that’d be me — was a lawyer in Georgia who also handled election law, campaign management, and political consulting.
I got an email back from the only red headed Mexican I’ve ever met, Josh Trevino, saying okay. Within a month, I was writing about national politics, not just Georgia, and in November of 2004, I was headed to Secaucus, NJ to spend the last week or so of the 2004 Presidential campaign blogging for MSNBC.
I did not start RedState. Josh Trevino, Ben Domenech, and Mike Krempasky did. I get all the credit for starting it, but it was their idea. They brought Clayton and me on after the lights were already on. On June 3, 2005, I turned turned 30 years old and Josh, Ben, Mike, and Clayton put me in the top spot at this site.
Today, I turn 40 and have no idea where the time went. My anniversary here is easy because it is my birthday and I have run this place for ten whole years. While no one can say what the future holds, these past ten years have been really incredible.
A job as a lawyer turned blogger turned into a job on CNN. Then I took a job on radio. A couple of years ago I moved from CNN to Fox, am now the evening drive time host for the nation’s most listened to news/talk station, fill in for Rush Limbaugh, have a syndicated newspaper column, got named the most powerful conservative in America (I know I’m not), started seminary, and in August will host the Republican Presidential candidates in Atlanta. Helping kill the Iowa Straw Poll is just a cherry on the top! Oh, and yes I remain quite proud of coining the term “Abortion Barbie” and coming up with the phrase “You will be made to care.” Through it all, I have logged over 500,000 miles of travel for RedState and its related mission.
I have learned a lot here, but have a lot still to learn. What I know most of all is this — I am genuinely blessed.
I’ve also learned in ways I did not think I needed learning that there is a very real God and we are on a journey from this world to the next. We may not see where we are going tomorrow, but we should trust Him. I did not know eleven years ago that ten years ago I’d take over RedState. I did not know where that would go. So I do not know where I’ll be tomorrow, let alone a week, a month, or a year from now, but I know God has a purpose, a direction, and a plan.
When I was a lawyer, everyone in my law firm was supposed to make three, five, and ten year plans. While I certainly have goals in life, I don’t plan like that because my life has been a testament to God’s planning and zoning department.
I know this too — I have a wife named Christy who few of you have ever met. But she is my best friend and most likely to tell me when I’m a dumbass. I could not do what I do but for her. There was a time in our marriage, before all of this, when I had to literally lift her out of the bed because she had no strength due to a mastectomy. She had that three months after we got married. It was a rough way to start a marriage. And I’ve got to tell you guys, she has been lifting me up every day since. I try to keep my family and this site separate. RedState has been a second wife and a third child — but it was in position two and three behind my actual wife and my actual kids, though sometimes and always unfairly they have to fight for attention. I love them dearly and hope they know it.
And therein lies another thing I know. The people on the left, right, and center who I know and whose company I enjoy have made their lives offline. They are not online personalities, but real people with daily struggles and jobs and families and careers. The people on the left, right, and center who I know who are defined by their online persona are the most miserable people I have ever encountered. Life does not happen online. Friendships can be forged and causes can be cared about, but it is no substitute for breaking bread around a table or taking an evening walk with the family or seeing a person’s real smile instead of their emoji. Sometimes excelling online means unplugging and going offline.
You guys and this site have been so good and kind and generous to me. My life is not online, but so many of my friends are and it is so important to build that community of friends offline too. That’s one reason I started the RedState Gathering. People are relational beings. We need to interact and see each other face to face.
This has been an amazing journey. My hair has flecks of gray now. My writing is sharper and less cavalier. I know people are listening and reading and this is not just me with friends. This site has a smaller readership than some, but has a hell of an impact other sites wish they had. We’ve never been a site about page views. We’ve been a site about advancing the conservative cause and conservative candidates. I am very proud of that and I am so proud of all the help and support of each one of you.
I hope I will see you all at this year’s RedState Gathering.