come out, come out wherever you are
...I still think he's a nut for listening to Noam Chomsky, and I'll tell him so. But I love him anyway. That's how I can be his friend....
Robert J. Toth articulates what I have been trying to say for a while.
It's interesting that this piece appears in my inbox today; I've been conferring with Choire and Nancy, two liberal friends, about just this thing. Unlike some other people, neither of them have chosen to drop me as a friend because of my political views. In fact, they both have made an effort to listen to my thoughts and try to understand them, whereas other people have stuck their fingers in their ears when I try to talk.
I don't know why people have a hard time looking past politics, religion or even sports when maintaining a friendship. Well, that's not true. I do have an idea. The idea is that those people who would give up a friendship - or in the case of blogging a permalink - are people who refuse to see beyond their own nose. They are people who cannot accept that their are other points of view, other opinions beside their own. They are the people who stand up and say my opinion is the right one and you are an ass for thinking otherwise.
In essence, the many people who have been talking about blog cocooning the past couple of days are referring to the practice of some bloggers of painting themselves into a corner. Linking only to people who think like them, and then taking it farther and not linking to anyone who links to someone who doesn't think like them, it's like making a virtual version of a gated community. No one in, no one out.
One such person is the author of Rittenhouse Review, who went off on a self-important little rant on how he can no longer in good conscience link to anyone who has Little Green Footballs on their linklist. Guilt by association, I presume. And honestly, when he says he is "taking a stand" how much of stand is it by just taking someone off of your blogroll? And how far is he going to take it? Will he just delink the people who link to LGF or will he take it one step further and delink the people who link to the people who link to LGF?
It's always been my contention that people develop the need for segragation out of fear of the uknown. If you don't take time to get to know about a certain culture, relgion, etc., you will only end up separating yourself from those that practice within those bounds because you fear what their beliefs might be. This is how children develop into racists. They grow up in families that say don't hang out with this one, he's black. Don't date this one, he's Jewish. They inherently think something is wrong with people who aren't just like them. They aren't taught to look beyond the race, the religion, the politics to see what lies beneath the skin. They don't see people, they see ideologies. And that's where the danger lies.
I wish the people who delinked me had said "You're a good friend, a nice person, but man, do I hate your politics," and left it at that. Is their world so small that the idea of having me on their links list makes it look like they promote my views?
On the other side of the coin is people asking you to remove them from their links list because they don't agree with you. That opens up a whole new can of worms. It's like the kid in grade school who said to you "Gee, can you not tell anyone that I know you? I don't want to be associated with a geek." Which basically would give me the urge to run through the halls and shout out that he's my best friend.
I know I've done this before. I've talked about it before. I almost ran it to the ground. But the fact is, I still get stabbed in the back for my views. I still look around and see my name dropping from blogrolls. A lot of the old crowd doesn't come around anymore. And that's all fine. But it's the almost daily emails and the snide comments in other people's blogs that still keeps it fresh for me. I have no idea why people are so hung up on what I write and how I feel. But they are. And it's starting to sicken me.
The point is, if you are a mature, reasonable person, you don't have to give up your friends because they aren't a carbon copy of you. Hell, who would even want to hang out people only like them? That would get boring real quick. The same applies to blogging. To link only to people who share your views is incredibly narrow minded. See what the rest of the world is thinking. Get out of your little box and look at different opinions. And for god's sake, people. Don't start ripping apart your blogroll, tearing down names of the bloggers who link to the bloggers who link to the bloggers that you don't like.
If you are a good friend, you will remain my friend regardless of what world views you hold. But if you become part of that trend of closed-minded people who are circling their wagons around the warbloggers and declaring a jihad on every person right of center, you can kiss my ass good bye.
I also wish people would stop worrying about me and sending me emails saying how they are concerned about the direction I've gone in. Don't worry about me, ok? I'm pretty much in a good place right now. I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been. I'm sorry if the pre-Paxil, pre-September 11 Michele is the person you want me remain as, because frankly, I hated being that person. In fact, I'm more worried that you would choose to bail on me now, when I'm finally happy.
Grow up, people. See the world. It's bigger than that cocoon you're sitting in. Much, much bigger.
*this has been a stream of conciousness post. May be edited later for clarity*