I’ve been having difficulty selecting topics for my blog posts lately.
I’ve been having difficulty not because I don’t have ideas. I have plenty. My problem is, the topics that have been consuming me of late have been political, and I really really try to avoid partisan politics on this blog.
Why avoid politics?
First off, I avoid the topic because other authors have made asses of themselves when they get embroiled by Things Political. It doesn’t matter how flawless my reasoning might be, someone from the other side of the spectrum might easily view me as a tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy nut and click “unfollow.” When I look at it dispassionately, it’s a ridiculous reason—I don’t have anything close to the readership of those other authors, so pissing off a chunk of my readers won’t affect me materially—but still, my initial reaction is to be circumspect.
I also avoid the topic because it is so polarizing. We (as a society, as neighbors, as friends) used to be able to discuss the state of our political affairs with civility, but now, it’s a minefield that can destroy relationships in the blink of an eye. This reason doesn’t make much more sense than the first one, though. I don’t have a personal relationship with most of you readers and, if you and I do have a personal friendship, you already know my political stance, so anything I say probably won’t surprise you.
A third reason is that I have explicitly stated in the policies on my About page that I avoid politics, but this, too, is silly, as I include (on that page) the caveat: “No promises.”
Yet, despite the weakness of these reasons, I remain loath to post about politics. This election cycle encompasses the widest ideological divide seen in more than a generation. We have candidates on the far left and right, some closer to the center, and one or two that can’t be pinned down at all. The electorate is angry, passionately so, and seems ready to burn down the house rather than try to repair it, which only deepens the divide.
And thus, my final reason for avoiding the topic: It’s futile.
I have no illusions on this score. Regardless of how impassioned my prose is or how glittering my logic might be, I’m unlikely to change your mind. People generally don’t want to discuss, analyze, evaluate, reconsider, or compromise. They want quick, simple answers, and seem willing to swallow a lot of unpleasant side dishes as long as they get the entrée they want.
But this is serious. It’s serious, it’s complicated, it has far-reaching implications, and what we do will make a difference in the years to come.
I just don’t know how we go about getting ourselves out of our separate trenches and back to our seats across the table from one another.
How do we return to civility and discourse?
Suggestions are welcome.