Friday, February 01, 2008

If Not Now, When? If Not Me, Whom?

I don't ordinarily talk much about politics on this blog.

(A quick glance at my sidebar, showing "Politics" as one of my top five tags, might of course convince a reader otherwise, but , if you look more carefully, you'll realize that the few general tags I use are rather heavily weighted in the tag list, given I'm prone to rather esoteric tagging. As of today, out of 182 posts in the past three years, 15 are tagged with "Politics." That means I don't talk about politics around here about 92% of the time.)

The reason I don't talk about politics much on this blog is not because I don't think much about politics. I think about politics quite regularly, actually. Really, pretty much every day. There's a reason I've been jonesin' for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and it's not just because of the naughty, naughty things I would like to do to Stephen Colbert.*

I've actually been known to watch CSPAN voluntarily.

And the reason I don't talk about politics much on this blog is not because I don't have considered, well-developed political views. Anyone who reads enough of my comments on other people's blogs probably knows by now that, even when I'm talking with people I know will disagree with my views, I openly and willingly identify myself as a liberal, a progressive, and a feminist.** I'll even accept the term damned hippie.

I've got the long hair. I might as well rock it. (Though I'll hasten to point out that damned dirty hippie does not technically apply in my case. I do shower daily, people.)

The reason I don't talk about politics much on this blog is that I came to blogging to be part of a certain blogging community. A community of intelligent, articulate individuals who like to talk about the ordinary triumphs and struggles of their everyday lives in insightful and revealing ways that illuminate the common human experience in a way that makes me feel both truer to myself and more connected to the rest of the world. Many of these people (but certainly not all) are fellow parents. Many (but certainly not all) are fellow women. Many are professional or quasi-professional writers, or foodies, or amateur photographers, or someone else with whom I share some random common interest. But every link in that blogroll there off to the left goes to a blogger who has written something that resonated with me, that deepened my understanding of a universal mystery, that seemed to reflect some feeling I have felt myself.

I enjoy being a part of this community.

And I have read political blogs. And political blog posts by writers of non-political blogs. And I have read the comments on political blogs and political blog posts by writers of non-political blogs.

And so I know that, all too often, when people-- even very intelligent, usually kind people who are normally infallibly polite-- discuss politics on the internet, civility goes out the window.

I know that many people are as blindly passionate about supporting their party or candidate of choice as they are their favorite hometown sports team. Discussions over politics, like discussions over football, seem somehow to wake some sort of fierce tribal instinct in certain people that causes some of them to say things and do things they might not say or do in any other context.

And I know that the faceless nature of the internet makes it that much easier for a person to say something careless or insulting without worrying about the consequences.

I see how quickly discussions over politics can get out of hand, even among bloggers who have formed strong relationships over common experience that has nothing to do with their political affiliation. I have seen far too many brilliant, thoughtful people, caught up in the heat of an argument, write ill-considered words that imply that other equally brilliant, thoughtful people must be gibbering idiots just because they have a different point of view.

I don't want to host that kind of crap on my blog.

I'm here to connect with others. Not to disconnect.

However, I also believe that whichever candidate wins the current race for the United States Presidency will face unprecedented challenges. He or she will walk into office facing not just one but TWO ongoing wars-- one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan-- and an increased threat of terrorism. He or she will inherit a record national deficit. A tanking economy. A housing crisis. A credit crisis. A health care crisis. An atmosphere of international mistrust. And a nation deeply, bitterly divided over how to resolve these issues. The future of our nation depends on our next leader's ability to resolve many serious issues created or exacerbated by our current leader's mistakes.

I have some opinions about the best ways to fix the problems we face. It may be presumptuous of me, but, I believe some of those opinions are worthy of discussion.

I also have some observations about the political process, and the coverage of that process by the mainstream media, that I think may be useful to some who might not have the time or energy to follow political campaigns (and the coverage of those campaigns) closely.

So, I have decided, perhaps against my better judgment, that over the next few days leading up to the Super Tuesday primaries, and possibly also occasionally during the weeks thereafter, I am going to write some serious posts here about politics.

I am not trying to alienate or exclude any readers may who hold views opposed to my own. I welcome civil discussion about the issues I'll be raising, and I hope that everyone who comments will do so in the spirit of furthering serious and thoughtful exploration of solutions to the problems we all face together as a society.

I am not claiming to be a political science expert. I am not claiming to be a media expert.

I am just an educated woman who gives a damn.

With a blog.

*Apologies to my lovely husband, who is nearly just as hot as Stephen Colbert, and is also of course the only man for me. While I'm awake, anyway.
**Yes, Virginia: There is such a thing as a lipstick-and-heels-wearing, bra-owning, man-loving, stay-at-home-mothering FEMINIST. I am one of them. Nice to meet you. Step on my rights to educate myself, vote, work for equal pay, marry whom I please, divorce whom I please, or own my own property, and I WILL kick your ass with these heels.


R said...

YEA, Jaelithe! I've been awaiting. . . and can't wait to read the words you write over the next several days/weeks.

KBO said...

Do your thang, girl. You've always got my hippie ass to support you.

Melanie D. said...

I spent the weekend (part of it, anyway) trying to read up and figure out...Obama or Clinton??? I'll be back to see what you've got to say. I'd use some of the same words to describe myself, but in my state - anyone's a hippie who's not registered republican.

Write on.