To be a good writer, one must know when to end one chapter and begin the next.
The same holds true in life.
To that end, it has come time to end the journalism chapter of my life and fully embrace the lawyer chapter.
I do not make this move lightly.
In 1978, my love of newspapers began with a paper route, delivering the Dayton Daily News to subscribers.
I’ve worked in many different professions through the years: food service, manufacturing, information technology, agriculture, law, military, human resources, logistics. But through it all, I almost always had some connection with newspapers.
In college, I began writing for the newspaper at the behest of a good friend. I was later the news editor. From there, I worked at the Beavercreek Daily News, the Beavercreek News-Current, the Fairborn Daily Herald, and the Sidney Daily News before landing at The Lima News 20 years ago.
What was going to be a short few years in Lima turned into a couple of decades because I found a love of advocating for personal liberty and limited government.
Journalism was never my goal. I majored in history with the intention of going to law school, but somehow I kept landing journalism jobs, initially without even looking for one. I found my first professional journalism job by accident, just because I was the one who answered the phone at the school newspaper when the Beavercreek paper called looking for someone interested in a part-time journalism gig.
Truth be told, I have never liked the act of writing. I have learned to suppress that dread through the years, but it reappears every time I sit down to write something new. The white screen staring me in the face, taunting me, daring me to create something out of nothing.
I like to think I have done some good, challenging readers to consider an alternative viewpoint from the dichotomy of our right-left world.
Still, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I came here just as President Bill Clinton’s sexual misbehavior became public. As I leave, the nation is being rocked by widespread charges of inappropriate sexual behavior on the parts of politicians, Hollywood bigwigs, and media personalities. And lest the timing of my departure be questioned, rest assured there are no accusations of sexual misconduct.
The battle for liberty though, will continue unabated.
The bulk of the problems we as a people face can largely be solved with an unabashed embrace of freedom. Most of our problems occur when one party tries to use the force of law to either prevent someone else from doing something they want or forcing them to do something they don’t.
We learned all we need to know in kindergarten. The Golden Rule. The nonaggression principle. Or as Thomas Jefferson described it: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
To put it plainly, my rights end where your nose begins.
What has amazed me most during the last 20 years is the downright hostility many have toward liberty. I have never understood those of you who want to give other people power over your lives. It simply boggles my mind.
And that is the real root of all our problems.
The Federal Register — the complete repository of all federal rules and regulations — was 54,924 pages long as of Nov. 17. Last year, it was the largest in history, covering 95,894 pages, a stack of paper as tall as the Washington Monument.
Meanwhile, there are 89,476 different units of local government scattered across the U.S., and more than 511,000 elected offices at the state and local level. And there is a growing disparity between the wages of government workers and the wages for civilian workers. The U.S. has spawned the thickest network of patronage and influence ever seen in any country — a crony capitalism in which business joins with the government and transfers wealth from the poor to the rich.
The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its population than anywhere else in the world. We kill a million babies a year and call it choice. And we have a president who is mentally incompetent to hold the job, suffering from narcissistic personality disorder and a thought disorder in which he believes whatever he says is reality.
So much for the land of the free.
Until we embrace the liberty envisioned by our Founders, these and our many other problems will continue unabated.
It is in this environment that I am putting away my quill; but I will continue to fight these many injustices in other fora.
I want to thank you for allowing me into your home each week. Rest assured I will miss these weekly conversations.
Fare thee well, dear readers.
Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is an attorney and night editor of The Lima News. Reach him by telephone at 567-242-0398, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ThomasLucente. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or Aim Media, owner of The Lima News.