Election 2008: Why shouldn’t we all get along?

September 11, 2008

My blogging tastes are, to say the least, far-ranging. In addition to my midlife friends, I keep up with a number of political, media, fashion, health, religious, sports (alas, it’s true) and even fat-acceptance (FA) bloggers. And if what is happening in some of the FA blogs and blog groups is any indication, it’s a sad, sad time out here on the old Web.

Fatistician and Worth Your Weight, both fellow WordPressers, tell of defections from the FA community due to the increasing political nature and resulting rancor of some recent conversations. Lindsay of Babblebits explains:

With the upcoming elections going on in the States, people are getting more and more political in their blogs… There has been entirely too much drama in both of the [FA] feeds about who should and shouldn’t be in them, and both of them have had minor s–tstorms brewed when someone got removed from each of them.

Hel-lo? These are fat-acceptance bloggers, women (mostly) who want to feel good about themselves at any size and who want others to feel the same way, and yet they’re being sidetracked from their original mission by presidential politics. They came together for a sense of community, and that community is being threatened.

As Fatistician says, “The fatosphere is supposed to be this safe space to discuss fat issues and make everyone feel warm and fuzzy.” And all of a sudden, for some members of the community, it no longer is.

Oh, I know. Marx (or Lenin or McCartney or somebody equally divisive) said something about everything being political, but I just don’t think it has to be this ugly. I would like to think we’re all grown-ups out here. While wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth ranters seem to invite equally rabid responses, I would hope that a well-reasoned post on any subject would invoke an equally well-reasoned reply.

But, alas, this is the Wild Wild Web. People can get their dander up over a comma splice out here. So we all continue to hit the Publish button and hope that we won’t be seriously misconstrued. But, somehow, we are.

I’m trying very hard not to promote any political opinion, mostly because I haven’t made up my mind. I daily get ultra-right-wing e-mails from my retired brother-in-law, as well as left-leaning tracts from my childhood friend in California. I glance over them, and I delete them. I watched the conventions, mostly on CSPAN to avoid the live punditry. I read the papers, and I even check in from time to time with both Fox and MSNBC.

And I gladly read my friends’ political comments on their blogs, which, for me, add to their personal richness and character. Your passion is always attractive and admirable, whatever the subject. I’ve even commented on some of my favorite posts in what I hope is a responsible, reasoned way.

If I offend, please forgive me. That would never be my intent. Americans indeed have a big decision to make in the coming months, but we don’t have to permanently alienate each other in the process.

Note: This article is cross-posted at MidLifeBloggers.

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