Adieu, but not goodbye
Last night, I asked my wife’s advice about being graceful, tactful and dignified. None of these traits is especially well bred within me. I have a tendency to choose candor over political correctness, honesty over politeness, and directness over tact. To some it’s refreshing. To others, it is upsetting.
Since I began writing this column some nine years ago, I am sure I have offended some people. Puffed-up corporate types, undereducated and overcompensated elected officials, and bureaucrats that can’t tell the difference between a good idea and a superior lobbying job, have all been fodder for my fanciful ravings. An ego is a fragile thing, and I have often ignored handling instructions for these too precious things.
My agenda was never hidden. I supported and continue to support the ability of local operators to thrive and survive in a political Dresden circa 1944. I don’t like monopolies, even if they are more efficient. I don’t like laws that favor the rich, just because they’re rich. I think everyone deserves equal consideration under law. And I particularly don’t like cowards.
The things I like are also known. I like good engineering that is affordable. Great ideas with ridiculous price tags are curiosities, not innovation. I like government officials who are more concerned with the job they’re doing and not the one they will do after they leave government. I like associations that care about all their members, not just the ones paying the highest dues. And I like corporations that want to make a profit, not just sell stock.
Then there are those mixed-bag things that keep me up at night. For example, I like the members of APCO, but I’m not crazy about an agenda that is based on the “everyone else be damned” theory of public safety superiority. I like most of the manufacturers, except when they grab the best deals for themselves and cut out their dealer network. I like Nextel’s money. I just don’t like Nextel.
As for auctions, I’ve never been a fan of selling something that doesn’t exist. Selling frequencies is like selling temperature. Why don’t we all just be honest and tell it like it is? The federal government is selling business licenses — period.
I could go on, as I have since 1993, but you have all read this before. Besides, I might offend someone or fracture another ego, and then what good would my talk with my wife have been? I’ve joked, pounded the table, railed, spit, screamed, cajoled, ridiculed and mainly poked fun at every pompous person, place and thing that our industry has produced over the last decade. It’s time to hand the podium to someone else.
This will be my final column here in MRT, a home and haven for the madman that has, I hope, informed and amused tens of thousands of readers for nearly a decade. Although I will still contribute some work to the MRT Web site and will regale the faithful in another forum, I take my leave from these pages, cartoon and all.
To my faithful readers I say adieu and thank you for your patience in allowing me to entertain, stimulate and sometimes rile. To my detractors and those whose offense I have heartily earned, I say CHILL OUT!! It was always about having a little fun while trying to explore the topics of the day. It was never about you.
Schwaninger, MRT’s regulatory consultant, is the principal in the law firm of Schwaninger & Associates, Washington, which is counsel to Small Business in Telecommunications. Schwaninger is also a fellow of the Radio Club of America. His email address is [email protected].