Blogging about politics is always risky. Usually quite early on, a reader will recognize which party you support and will respond accordingly — they’ll either keep reading if they identify with you or they’ll move on if they don’t. Few stick around to hear what someone of an opposing political party wishes to espouse unless they’re looking to judge that opinion and its believer as being ridiculous. I say this because I, too, have been there and done that (and try as I might, I still go there more often than I’d like to admit). We are all human (if that’s an acceptable excuse, I don’t know; you be the judge on that.)
I could avoid the topic all together, or not. As citizens, I don’t think we can continue to avoid these difficult conversations. I would agree that fighting for the sake of fighting doesn’t accomplish anything. So what do we do? How do we approach these conversations respectfully while still being true to ourselves as bloggers and as citizens with points of view looking for solutions and not as journalists that are obliged to be objective in their reporting of events?
That reminds me of some of the latest advice out there on how to be successful in social media by joining the conversation. Do so by being yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. See some of these references yourself here:
- (from Twitter) garyvee says – “if you’re shy – become the greatest shy guy on earth”
- (from Twitter) garyvee says – “if you’re not good at monetizing, get a bus partner that can.” do what u do & bring in others who can do the other stuff. 08:39 PM September 19, 2008 from twhirl in reply to garyvee
- Another great proponent of being yourself is Chris Brogan in his latest free e-book on “Personal Branding for the Business Professional“: “Be yourself. It will become apparent rather quickly if you’re being someone that you’re not.”
So, what’s my point? I guess this is maybe (or not) a bigger lead-up than necessary to a thought I wanted to bring up around a recent YouTube video posted by an Iraq War Veteran. It’s a very well done and a very sincere video. That is why I want to be very careful not to disrespect its intent. Check it out here:
Powerful YouTube clip, don’t you agree? I think so. I say that and I am not even a McCain supporter. And, I’m not here to to take anything away from our military’s sacrifices. Their sacrifices are immense and can never be repaid. [Update 9/25/08: Here's a link to a YouTube video of a soldier with the opposite point of view.]
Nobody likes war, not even McCain himself. He honestly said so himself in his RNC speech where he spoke of the impact on war on himself and his family. As bad as war is, there is the belief that fighting is a necessary evil. McCain ended his RNC speech with words of “fighting” for what you believe in, as seen here:
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t like the idea of fighting for peace. I want to believe in diplomacy and other means to the same end. Whatever you do believe, it is clear that this can be a very difficult discussion to have among people of differing points of view.
That’s why I’m looking forward to the work of the upcoming Transpartisan Alliance which is a group that wants to show people how to have respectful dialogue. Here’s how they describe what they stand for:
Transpartisanship acknowledges the validity of truths across a range of political perspectives and seeks to synthesize them into an inclusive, pragmatic whole beyond typical political dualities. In practice, transpartisan solutions emerge out of a new kind of public conversation that moves beyond polarization by applying proven methods of facilitated dialogue, deliberation and conflict resolution. In this way it is possible to achieve the ideal of a democratic republic by integrating the values of a democracy — freedom, equality, and a regard for the common good, with the values of a republic — order, responsibility and security.
I’m hoping the upcoming Presidential and Vice Presidential debates are civil and at least not more polarizing than necessary, if necessary is even an appropriate word. But, regardless of how they go and who wins the debates and the election in the end, solving today’s problems requires engagement of all parties and understanding of all points of view. I’m looking at Election Day as the beginning of that work, not as the end of a fight. Am I being naive that progress can be made on this front? I hope not.