Blogging and Politics

Before I started blogging, I was a journaler. I still journal every morning, but some of the reflecting I used to do in the pages of a journal now show up in my blog. This morning, as I wrote, I thought about all of the ideas I don’t and won’t put in the blog.

For example, I resist blogging about politics, even though I have some pretty strong ideas about that. In my efforts to promote peace, I try to honor opposing points of view. In writing, this can appear to be waffling. In my view, I see it as an attempt to look at the deeper threads where people are actually together rather than in opposition. In order to communicate that one usually has to spend lots of words and sometimes seem to talk in circles.

I feel sometimes like the father figure in “Fiddler on the Roof”. In his self-talk Tevye states his opinion rather strongly, then he says, “On the other hand” and considers another way to look at the same problem. Under consideration is his three daughters breaking with the tradition of his people to marry men whom they love rather than the ones chosen by the matchmaker. When the third daughter, Chave, chooses to marry outside the faith, Tevye finds he cannot bend further. “There is no other hand,” he proclaims.

I have reached this point, the line in the sand over which I dare not tread. Yet, as the story of Tevye and his family comes to a close and the people of the village are leaving, driven out by the Russians, Chave, stops as she is on her way out with her beloved. She says goodbye to her mother and sisters, but Tevye refuses to acknowledge her. As she walks away, he says, “And God be with you.” The rigid stick bends, the line is stepped over. The audience knows that there will be a happy ending. This family will be reunited.

As I consider my political positions and those of my so-called opponents, I tend to think we are like Tevye’s family. It is not our differences of opinion that are our problem, but our rigidness, our bullheadedness. “There is no other hand!” we say. It is with a statement of faith that Tevye opens the door to reconciliation with his daughter. “And God be with you.”

When I figure out how to write with an open door, I will start writing about politics.

Bill Clinton

Bernie and I watched a fascinating documentary about Bill Clinton on PBS last night. It is always interesting, I think, to learn what went on the White House during a presidency. This one was really intriguing because it put out there Clinton’s ambition and his fears and self-doubts about important decisions and about himself. Equally fascinating was the story of Hilary.

I also found it enlightening to see the story of the political climate, the goings on of the congress and investigations and press. It was definitely dejavous multiplied.

Last year, we watched a series about John Adams and that was also enlightening, but in the Clinton story, I kind of expected to see similarities between that era and our present political climate. It was so recent and the Clintons are still with us. But I was really startled to see the similarities in the Adams story. Those events occured over 200 years ago during the founding of our nation and the presidency was still an experiment.

When I was a kid, history was all about memorizing dates and facts, mostly about wars. It was boring and irrelevant. I love learning through media and in our travels about the origins of our democracy and so much more. With all the complaining I do about modern  media, sometimes, like this morning, I have to stop and appreciate it.

Political Writing

I started out this morning writing my first political blog. It started out being about economics, personal and national. Then I started writing about  the American Way of Life, then about basic life style and people’s rights. Every time I’d write a sentence, I would think about another side to the idea I was trying to present. I hit “save draft” three times and started  over. I finally gave up and decided to talk about talking about politics.

I have this problem. I am not a person who thinks I know it all, ever. I know that for everything I know there is some idea out there in the universe waiting to correct or even change my thinking. Usually, when I listen to someone talking about politics, I hear something in what they are saying as true, even when I don’t agree 100%. To be nice, I will express my agreement with the one or two ideas I agree with and that usually makes them very happy. But when I share an idea that is contradictory to what they have been saying, I sometimes get stomped on. Then I get defensive, angry, frustrated and will clam up.

As I said, I don’t think I know everything, but I do give my beliefs a lot of thought before I believe them. I do a lot of reading about history and world affairs, listen to a lot of opinions, and weigh ideas against my own developing values. So I like to think my ideas have some worth. I don’t necessarily want a listener to clam up and hope I will go away. That is what I do to them, and frankly, that isn’t all that helpful. What I want is to be heard as a thoughtful person with a considerable amount of life experience and learning with a valid perspective about the affairs of the world.

Clearly I have something to get over in order to be political commentator. I like to talk politics but, like most folks, I feel best talking to people who already agree with me or don’t know one iota and will believe anything.