I read many blogs about writing. They keep me informed, educated and introduce to me many writers, styles and subjects. It is a way to stay connected to other people in the industry. Most of us are home, sitting behind a computer and have little interaction with the world outside while writing. But today I was reading one of my favorite blogs that I enjoy the writer’s direct and rather brash styles. So, when today’s topic was of a political nature I was open, but hesitant to read. Politics is a hard topic to bring up with “strangers.” There are so many spectrums of beliefs and where each person comes from, someone is bound to be offended, or put off. So, this was a daring move. This blogger, having thousands of followers was probably confident enough to say what he said, hoping his allure would override his content. I did not skip over it, and found it objectionable.
I am probably more political than most. I keep up in current events, have a definitive belief system and don’t mind speaking about my thoughts. But…..and I say that with great caution, I do not allow my public voice go beyond my “friends” and “acquaintances.” Not for fear of being judged, or offending someone. Gosh, I offend my friends and family all the time with the things I say. But we (the people I choose to discuss politics with) all know this….we are different and respect each other’s sides. It is what we do. Quite honestly, I surround myself with varied people for the pure joy of discussion and dialogue. I believe it grows your mind, makes you more human, puts your own thoughts in perspective, and teaches you to listen, respect and cherish those around you. I guess you can say it is a pastime for me to “argue.” I love it! I debate hard….but never in my mind do I think that someone does or has to agree with me. For me, it is just the joy of sharing my thoughts aloud. I think everyone has a right to express his/her opinion. Go for it! That is what freedom is all about. The blogger had every right to use his post to state his opinion on a current political event. After all….it is HIS blog. My objection: His opinion seemed to assume that everyone who was reading it felt the same way. There was little apology to anyone who might disagree with his stance/choice. He stated his opinion and case well. I respect that immensely. But he closed off his comments and made a huge statement for those who would have disagreed. This I think, when you go public with such a strong opinion, can divide your audience needlessly.
My first reaction to his blog was to just drop him from my likes. I really don’t have time for people in my life who are closed minded, or who are so opinionated they cannot see the other side of things. I am not an advocate of throwing up your words at someone and then walking away. Take it like a man! If you have such a strong opinion, then you need to stand up to the opposite and face the truth of your words. Defend them and believe in them. But “walking away” shows arrogance, a lack of understanding and is just plain wimpy!
But then I realized that I would have been doing exactly what he was doing…..shutting out people with whom I disagree. People do not have to agree…nor should they. It keeps us on our toes and constantly growing. But if we are a society of writers, and use our words for a living, we need to be better at the communication thing. He failed the biggest test of blogging: being open to all that may follow you. Will you offend at times? Sure, but as a blogger you have to be more conscientious of your “public” persona, as well as the power of your words. He spewed out “stuff” that he felt strongly about, and then walked away….that was an amateur move.
Was I annoyed? Yes. Do I want to dump his blog? No. For I really like his writing and commentary. I can overlook others with whom I don’t agree, and still enjoy them as people and what they have to offer. How boring would it be if everyone thought like you??? We would have no good novels and the meaning of protagonist/antagonist would cease to exist. Having tolerance is the key to an advanced society. Respecting others and how they think/believe/feel are vital to our development. Making sure when you have pen in hand, you should honor that.
Please keep in mind that I am talking about context. If this were a political blog, or a news commentary, I would probably have been more lenient with my opinion. But this was a writing blog. Stating his opinion and making the decision he did in the name of politics and his beliefs was noble. I truly love it when people stand for something. I guess I just didn’t expect something so political attached to this blog…and that is where the disconnect happened. But….damn that word! I guess my offense is that by being so narrow minded (by assuming his audience felt exactly the way he did) and closed off (for others to give him commentary back) he put himself in a position to lose respect from his readers. He lost the opportunity to connect or to understand his audience better. He lost a little respect from me. As a blogger and a writer that move can be a fatal blow.
I read his blog and moved on…sort of. His words were powerful and touched upon a guttural response. Which only proved to me that he is worthy of reading. I had some issues with what he said, politically, but totally respected where he was coming from and what he was doing in the name of his beliefs. I just wish he had presented the same respect for me.