It’s been five years since I wrote my first blog post and I’m feeling a tad somber about that. Since then, I’ve written on a wide range of topics, mostly in regards to personal development and writing. I wrote an angry political post yesterday and it was a lesson as well, getting chided by a couple of commenters. I expended a lot of energy trying to be measured in reply and not devolve into personal attacks. I lay awake last night and decided it’s not worth it, so I am making a slight adjustment.
The idea of writing a public blog is both grand and petty at the same time. There are a million plus blog posts published every day on the internet. That I would presume to be one of those voices, after a lifetime of flying under the radar is pretty amazing to me. When people respond, you start getting the idea that what you say matters. Until you realize that you’re in the middle of a rancorous crowd, whispering read me, read me.
I don’t want to write about little things all the time. But I don’t want to spend my time arguing. No one has ever argued me into changing my mind, so I don’t expect to do that for someone else. I change my mind slowly, on my own terms. Arguing just makes me feel the need to either run away or get unnecessarily aggressive. While I’ve been reading about how to be rational and reasoned in those situations, when push comes to shove, my frustration wins. I know it’s something I have to work on, but I’m not going to do it here. There’s better places to have conversation.
Anyone who has read my blog for any period of time, knows how I feel about the current state of politics and about our new President. So, I’m learning to become an activist. I’m learning more about my government and how it works. And I will use my writing skills to protest, persuade, and make my voice known.
There’s a question of complicity. If I don’t use this established platform to raise my voice, am I failing in some way to honor my values? There is a particular flavor to the internet. I don’t think minds are being won over here. It is the mindlessness, the reactive nature of political commenters. No argument is advanced, but the same old tired back-and-forth memes are recited until eventually they’re calling each other stupid. It’s pointless.
It is unlikely that I’ll endear myself to the public at large, anyway. I’m not a believer, so I don’t care for religion. Any discussion usually lands me in hot water. I’m an unrepentant feminist and don’t have patience arguing about what it means or why some whackadoodles in the club have done what they’ve done. I don’t claim responsibility for anyone but myself.
I don’t watch TV. I don’t enjoy sports. I hate shopping. I don’t actively use Twitter or Facebook (my posts robo themselves over). I don’t like crowds of people, recycled sound bites or hugging. I can be quite bad-tempered when pushed. I like to spend loads of time alone. And I read indiscriminately. In short, I have very limited appeal online and in person.
With politics, I don’t see the advantage of starting dialogue with people who are dug into their trenches. It takes much more effort on my part than theirs to engage, because I don’t always assume I’m right. I have to critically think about and counter my intemperance. I’d rather engage people on other things and not go head-to-head on politics all the time. This is the only way we can remind each other of our humanity.
I get a little sensitive to the accusation that I’m intolerant and not open-minded, because those are held up as virtues. I’ve decided to get over that. We’re all intolerant and close-minded about some things, just not the same things. This is my blog and I should make a conscious choice how I engage and how responsive I want to be. And if a reader prefers all engagement, all the time, I’ll get over that, too, because there’s 999,999 other blogs that they could comment on.
From here on out, I’ll continue to write what I want to write, but on hot button posts will turn off comment sections and Like options. I appreciate engagement, but with some topics there’s just no way it’s going to be enjoyable. I don’t enjoy squabbling and being told how stupid I am by total strangers. Who does? I enjoy reading editorials with no engagement, no Like button. I like to mull things over without the social media tug, so maybe some of you do as well.
My writing, when it comes to politics, needs to take on a more journalistic bent. As I engage in editorial writing to papers and magazines, the up-close-and-personal perspective that I write from at The Green Study will be absent. I’m great for blurting out my flaws and vulnerabilities, but I am also capable of a different kind of writing. And it may be more useful than me calling someone a douchebag here. Although perhaps not as satisfying.
I don’t know how things are going to play out over the next five years. But I’m going to keep typing along in the hopes that something worthwhile emerges.
An added comment policy can be found here.