Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Self Revelation: A Tension

As is so often the case, it was another blogger that got me to thinking. Julie who has both a fine mind and a talent for making beautiful quilts wrote about not really wanting to blog about politics, but it seemed to burst out of her.

Then one of her commenters, Cheri, who has a mighty fine blog of her own, wrote, "I try to keep politics off my blog, too, because if I like someone's quilting, I don't want to know if I hate their politics!" And that made me smile because I kind of feel the same way.

As bloggers, we choose what aspects of ourselves we share with our readers, people who may be family, friends, acquaintances, or unknowns. As a blog reader, I'm generally drawn to those who share more dimensions, rather than fewer, of who they are.

I tried to keep politics out of my blog posts. My sidebar gave enough information, I thought, about my political leanings. When I was volunteering at a campaign office during the primaries, though, I did share the excitement that I felt, the idea that I was working for a cause that I believed in. I wrote about the experience more than about the candidate. I was uncovering for both my readers and myself a piece of me that I hadn't known before.

In the past few weeks I did some different political blogging. Rather than extol the virtues of the candidate I prefer, I realize now that I succumbed to the urge to express my serious concerns about another candidate. I wasn't totally happy with myself when I did it. I thought that venting would make me feel better. What it did was let me know which readers share my viewpoint.

I noticed that some of my regular commenters were quiet during those posts. And this led me to believe they support a different candidate. Their absence was felt, and I thought about what Cheri said. I hoped that they still liked my quilts, if not my politics, and me, if not my candidate. [It seems they do. :-) ]

(As a side note, rather amazingly, one Reader From The Other Side who knows me IRL as well as from reading my blog felt the need to respond but did it in such a strange and childish way --sending by mail a clipping that reflected his own opinion and -- I suppose -- hoping to impress me with his astuteness. He did it anonymously, using an envelope with a return address that wasn't his and carefully misspelling my name on the outside. He made an impression all right, but not the one he was trying for.)

When I'm with friends whose political leanings are different from mine, for the most part, we just let that be, and talk about the things we do share. I don't expect to persuade anyone to my point of view, and I certainly don't want anyone to try to persuade me. It is better, in person, to just by-pass this difference.

So, what I'm rambing about here today has to do with tension and risk. The tension of self revelation. What to share and what not to share. The tension between wanting to share and not wanting to offend. Between openness and discretion.

No conclusions at this point. Just thinking and pondering.


11 comments:

Suzan said...

That's the reason for my other blog site. I wanted a place to express what I was thinking and did not want to offend my quilting friends. I know that many of them do not support my candidate. I have noticed that a few who used to read and comment on my quilting blog no longer do that and I am sure it is because of my political leanings.

The Calico Cat said...

I feel your tension... I kind of expressed my leanings today in a non-direct manner...

(I like that picture fore more reasons that just the political statement. I like that the president wrote back to her - I can't imagine any political candidate doing that today. I also like that she is not a "white woman.")

Guenveur in Kent said...

I have several acquaintances (can't call them friends exactly) who insist on emailing me screeds (and that 's the only word for it) which insult both my intelligence and my politics, which they know are not the same as theirs. I would never send them that sort of thing and I do not understand why they continue to send me this sort of thing, even though I have gently told them that I am not interested. I still like these people, but not so much any more. They are being passive aggressive, which the internet seems to foster.
I have avoided politics in my own blog only because I am tired of hearing about it and would like to pretend that surely intelligent people will not vote for the McCain ticket. But them I have unrealistic expectations about the American voter. They've let me down too many times.
If people decide they don't like your lovely quilts and your good writing because of politics, that's their loss.

Karen Dianne Lee said...

I am SO glad you shared this. As women, quilters and adults we can make a choice to read or not.

I ADMIRE YOU for voicing EVERYTHING about you. Politics and all.

I'm certain no one reads 1/2 the stuff I post. Who wants to read re: emotions, another MS day, how I think the Universe Heals. But its my little corner of the Cyber world and maybe they'll come back around. If they're meant to connect, they will.

I hope you wont stop being who you are and sharing Her! As a Blog Reader I want to know about more than just your Quilts if you care to share. If not, that's okay, too.

Just know that I want to know about ANYTHING you want to SHARE because whatever you share is a gift.

Sharing the Truth of Love, *karendianne./ Living Life at LeeHaven

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

You should not necessarily assume that non-comment on a politically themed post means anything at all. I'm Switzerland. Known to self, and in the booth when punching the card. I love you and your quilts! ;)

Gretchen said...

Your post was wonderful today. I, too, have been struggling with not posting political points of view on my blog (which is probably why I haven't posted as much lately). I think I am just getting over being insulted to the nth degree by the RNC (nuff said) during their hate-filled convention. I decided that I would post something (not a rant) on Nov. 3 and that will get it out of my system.
Hang in there :)
PS: quilters for Obama ;)

materialjunkie said...

I enjoy your blog very much abd appreciate all that you have to say. It is YOUR BLOG and you need not try to please everyone that reads it because you never will. I love looking at your quilts-it is how I found you in the first place. But I learn also and I love learning. You mentioned about the Quakers and that caused me to research for more info. You passed on two links that are politcal and now I read them every day. I do not live in the States but I would be foolish not to think that the politics on the other side of the border affects our politics in Canada. By the way..I think Sarah Palin is feisty..determined..and speaks well..but her and McCain together would be very very dangerous. Her as President would be a castastrophe. I hope that the voters over there see right through that charade! I hope you continue to share about who you are and what you think and not just what you create.

Shasta said...

It is a fine balance - deciding what to share, what not to share, especially when you are considering your blog audience. I wish that the world was open enough that you could share your opinion without others judging, but obviously it isn't. On the other hand, I wouldn't necessarily assume that if someone was quiet that they didn't agree with you. Maybe they are leaning more towards not sharing.

kansaswx said...

A friend recently told me that a friend doesn't mind if you speak your mind and if they he/she minds that you do, then they really aren't your friends. Part of the problem with women today is that we worry too much about offending others. Write what's on your mind and if it offends me, who's issue is that? Mine, not yours. Your blog, your thoughts! I'm reading your blog as a link from a friends and am loving it. I like reading your political thoughts even though we aren't for the same people. (Just have to say that I'm liking Obama better now that Palin has entered the picture.) And guenveur in Kent when those people mail you the things you don't like, often they have stupid stuff that can be disproven. I always, without fail, reply to them with the truth, usually as a snopes or truthorfiction.com link. Once or twice of that and they get the message and stop sending them to me.

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

I thought I'd post lots about my sewing/quilting so I started a blog. Life intervened, so there was less sewing for a time. And when I do sew, I'm not on the computer much. But I am thinking when I'm driving and sewing, so I started a blog about faith issues and political issues, etc. I find that much more interesting to write. I like to post pictures on the other blog, but I don't write much about the sewing. So that was my solution. Anyway, I don't mind your political comments in the least. I'm just as unlikely to comment if I agree or disagree. I'm tired of putting comments on some other blogs that one might call the politics of church and getting dumped on by pastors, so I'm letting go of that.

nannergirl said...

As a Canadian, the American political scene is something that affects me indirectly. Although I might not agree with every political post I read, it's intersting to hear opinions from real people, not just news reporters. And it's your blog, you should feel free to share whatever you want. I love your quilts by the way. Thanks!