Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time to Move Forward

HARBESON: That's all I have to say about that

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I have important news to share with you this week. It’s either good news or bad news, depending on your perspective. As of today, I will no longer be writing a weekly column for this paper.

No, I did not have an affair. I don’t even have a biographer. I’ve simply decided I’m ready to move on.

For some time now, I’ve been writing with a very specific underlying theme in mind. Ever since I reached the conclusion that following the non-aggression principle, respecting private property and engaging in voluntary interactions are preferable to government force, I have been attempting to analyze local issues and conflicts from this voluntaryist perspective.

We will never be able to create ideas that will help us lessen conflicts with each other as long as people continue to accept the legitimacy of pointing the government gun at each other to get what we want. That’s simply not going to work in the long run.

So from the standpoint of that philosophy, I have tried my best to critically analyze and question everything surrounding government, especially the messages put forth by politicians who have been pushing this propaganda in an attempt to maintain their power for far too long.

I’m at the point now where I have said all I can say about these ideas.

In addition, I’m just worn out. I don’t know how other writers do it, but for me, it takes a very long time to produce a column. Perhaps I’m a perfectionist and tend to over-analyze, but I find I must spend lots of time, an embarrassing amount of time actually, crafting each column to my satisfaction. Even after all the time spent, I still think I could have done better.

I don’t know why but I’m just not a very efficient writer. I need time to let an idea brew in my mind and a weekly deadline means that I sometimes find myself not fully present in my actual life. I am getting to the point where it’s too much of a chore to put the effort to produce a product I am proud of and respect my readers too much to just “phone it in.”

Ending my current relationship with this paper does not mean I will stop writing though, particularly since writing helps me learn and grow. I will probably be writing for more specific audiences — people who already understand and share similar underlying philosophies.

This will likely happen in the area of education, mostly because that’s where I have the personal experience. As a matter of fact, our family’s experience of really living outside of government control by deciding to home educate is what started me down the path of understanding the benefits that can accrue when individuals, even young children, are given lots of freedom to learn and grow.

I would like to thank News and Tribune Editor Shea Van Hoy for giving me the opportunity to take up space here every Thursday and for granting me the freedom to say the things I wanted to say in the way I wanted to say them. I know he’s caught hell more than once after publishing my opinions.

I also want to thank the readers. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all of your responses, both positive and negative, and I appreciate everyone who took the time and energy to send comments and reactions to the opinions I’ve shared on this page.

One final point for those who may be glad to see me go: I wouldn’t celebrate too hard because who knows, I may return sometime in the future with a guest column if something happens to rile me up enough.

Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson took an embarrassingly long time to write this final signature line. You can take an embarrassingly long time to write her at

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pondering A Serious Family Issue

HARBESON: Play the name game

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Let’s face it. Even if you feel like there is a candidate worth voting for, the final week leading up to a presidential election is annoying. Newspapers, electronic media, direct mail, phone calls and yard signs blast political messages constantly. The only way to even come close to avoiding the bombardment is to leave the country — which is exactly what I did this year.

It was an excellent plan. I thoroughly enjoyed not having to hear the politician’s distortions, outright lies and promises that can’t possibly be kept. Once we were out of the country, the air was clear, crisp and almost devoid of election pollution. I could finally take deep breaths without gagging and my sinuses even cleared up.

The trip wasn’t all fun and games though. I did have a particularly serious family issue to think about while on this trip. Apparently, I am going to be a grandma, whether I want to or not. Don’t get me wrong, I want my daughter and son-in-law to have a baby, really I do. I am very excited and happy about it. I just don’t want to be a grandma.

Well, to be more precise, it’s not that I don’t want to be a grandma. I do. It’s just that I don’t want to be called by that name. I’m sorry but no matter how much I think about it, the name just doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Instead, every time I say the word, another joint starts aching, cracking and popping.

There are those who say I can’t control this anyway and the kid will figure out for him or herself what he or she will call me. But I’m telling you now if the kid tries to call me grandma, I’m just not going to answer.

Yes, I realize that might backfire because he or she will just assume I’ve lost my hearing but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway. Maybe I can’t control getting older but by golly, I will have some control over my name.

Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it before — you think that when the little tyke begins to talk, I just won’t care anymore. But you’re wrong. Despite Shakespeare’s beautiful poetic prose about the sweetness of that rose, grandma as a name simply stinks as far as I’m concerned.

Look, I don’t mean to insult those of you who really like to be called grandma. If you love it, that’s great, grandma.

When my daughter, son-in-law and husband realized how strongly I felt about this, they started throwing out lots of alternative suggestions, all of which I rejected because they were just more euphemisms which said to me, “Look old lady, you are a grandma so just shut up and deal with it.”

So after they finished with their barrage of mi-mi’s, gi-gi’s and lady ga-ga’s, I said, “Can’t the kid just call me Debbie?”

In reply my daughter said, “Well, why don’t you poll the readers of your column and see what they think?”

What a great idea, an actual poll about something important for a change!

So, what do you think? Shall the name Debbie be retained by, well, Debbie to be used even by her grandchildr ... I mean, her children’s children?

If you do not think they should call me Debbie then feel free to offer alternative write-in candidates. Send your vote to the email listed below.

Oh and maybe it goes without saying but any write-ins for “grandma” will be thrown out immediately so don’t even try to stuff the ballot box. However, I will not be checking IDs so go ahead and vote as many times as you like.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson is now accepting all votes and suggestions for alternatives to the name grandma at