Those of you who visit here regularly may have noticed that we managed to get through a whole US election season without any partisan politics. I thank you all for not starting any such irritations in the comments; my affection for the readership grew in this time. But it may be useful for me to explain the many reasons behind my studious avoidance, since many of them relate to the views that fuel the writing:
- I am not aligned with a major party, and am fairly bereft of faith in the process, so my rooting interest is limited to begin with. I feel that elections are something for other people to get worked up about.
- This is my professional public presence. I make my living with my writing. I don’t check my readers’ political cards, and I find the notion abhorrent. If I share writing, it is for all, and whether we might agree or disagree on any issue is beside the point.
- The above relates to a view I do hold strongly: one of our great problems today is political incontinence. I define this as the inability to set politics aside and work/play/eat/laugh/boff/live together in amity, caused by the inability to shut the hell up about one’s politics. Politics are like bowel movements: they’re fine in the proper places, even necessary, but the world doesn’t need a report on every last instance, nor does it need a constant flow of other people’s on display. I have determined that this must be a bastion of political continence. I know too many deeply intelligent people all over the spectrum of politics to think less of any person based purely on a political stance. It is important to me that no one walk away from here feeling litmus-tested, and to fulfill that mission requires strict political continence, which must begin with me.
- If I started the discussion, it would become a fight, because I am a fierce and passionate man. I have seen how many people have behaved over politics in the past year, and many of the types of things people have said would be things they couldn’t take back–it would not be my way to let them. I also might respond with words I couldn’t take back, and being me, I probably would not want to back down. Know thyself, especially thine weaknesses. Whatever gain could be had from allowing that, well, it eludes me. Who could I blame but myself, were I to open that door? It would all be beside the point, which is that I am here to represent my writing to the world, not bicker. There are other places I could bicker, if so minded.
- People need oases from politics at the best of times. These are not the best of times, and in these, they need oases that much more. People need good places, and I’ve striven to craft one.
- I have never made a pronouncement/demand that commenters avoid politics, because I didn’t need to. The blog seems to have drawn people of good political continence. If I had to, I suppose I would, though the reflex of just deleting the political comments might be enough to send the message. It is fatuous to come out all bombastic against a problem that does not and likely will not exist. “Okay, thanks for that. What’s next, a proscription outlawing all living velociraptors? No mammoths allowed to post on the blog?”
- The blog has taught me that social comment is possible without overt political commentary. At the outset, I wondered if this would be the case, and how to handle it.
- Politics tends to bring on the sin of bloviation. Blogging should not be bloviatory.
- Confession: I’m not really that knowledgeable about politics, nor do I think most people are. It’s my view that most people who take to political pulpits really don’t and can’t know the facts, because most people would not invest the time. They would take the word of news articles, or their favorite websites, even simply take the headlines and not read the articles. If I find myself having to guard against that, I must assume I’m not the only one. Therefore, my default assumption is that most of what I see is baloney based upon baloney: unsubstantiated conclusions based on unchecked, taken-for-granted suppositions. It is impossible for everyone to check everyone’s references, or even all of one’s own; there simply isn’t enough time. We do have substantial reason to believe one thing: that a lot of what we read and hear and watch is misleading, either by journalistic sloth or by design. I once heard a co-worker, a pretty bright guy, take issue with my questioning of some version of events. His argument: “But it was on the network news! Of course it’s true!” With that statement, it became evident that our world views were parallel. There’s a word that gets misused. What does it mean? Two lines are parallel only if they can never touch. ‘Parallel thinking’ doesn’t mean agreement, despite how people throw it around. His thinking and mine emanated from such different fundamental assumptions that common ground was elusive.
So, from deep inside me, thank you for keeping us free of partisan crap here at the ‘Lancer. Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, visiting, and for motivating me to write. When I begin to conceive a blog post, I am asking myself: “How will this inform, uplift, entertain?” I have aborted quite a few posts because they didn’t supply good answers to that question. Thanks for being the reasons for the question.