The tensions in my city are palpable. And that’s just Chicago.
There is upheaval and seismic news every day, everywhere. How much the news affects you personally determines how you feel about it. Well, all the news feels personal lately. The racial turmoil. The presidential election. ISIS. Mass shootings. Brexit. My head spins every day, right along with yours. But you don’t know how I feel about any of this stuff because I don’t talk about it here.
You don’t know if I support Trump or Hillary or someone else. You don’t know if I’m marching in the huge protests that are taking place every day here. You don’t know how I feel about the European Union and yes, I do have feelings about it. I didn’t blog about Treyvon Martin or the shootings in Dallas this week. I didn’t blog about Pulse, nor about San Bernadino last year.
Something will happen and I will think, “Today’s the day. I have to say something about [INSERT POLITICAL FIRESTORM HERE.] Surely now, surely after this, I have to say XYZ.” But every single time, I stop myself. Why?
Because you don’t come to me for politics and you shouldn’t. I’m not a political writer. I’m just a blogger you like. I’m a quilter, too. I’m not a person with the background/credentials/experience to speak intelligently about politics. “Well, a lot of people speak about such things without background/credentials, etc., Mary! It’s never stopped them!” You are correct. Unqualified people going off in an un-moderated public forum about things they feel strongly about and have little context or facts for is free speech and yay for free speech, but it doesn’t mean it’s helpful. It’s certainly not a reason to go for it myself.
I will not use this public platform to add another emotional screed, manifesto, rant, or praise song to the din. I won’t publish anger, fear, sycophancy, or an impassioned call to arms. There are enough of those on either side of everything already. It’s not my role. When I try to be something I’m not, the failure is total. I’m not qualified to write intelligent, informed political commentary so I won’t write it – not here, anyway. I have seen the damage done when people (including me) get irresponsible with a public platform for their opinions. I see the absolute, utter futility of those Facebook rants back and forth – I want no part of it. I recuse myself. The stakes are just too high.
My political leanings and opinions determine how I act in the world and how I vote. I am proud to be a U.S. citizen and I will conduct myself as such. But you’re not going to hear the details here. At the very least: this stuff is private. Or could be. That is still an option, you know.
I hear some of you wondering, “Just when, Miss-Recuse-Yourself-Pants will it be bad enough for you to say something, to stick your neck out?” This is a valid criticism. Some might even be angry that I won’t “go there” with so much happening. There may come a time when staying silent is more damaging than sharing with you how I feel about an issue. But I have started to “go there” about 90 times over the course of writing PaperGirl – 80 of those times in the past couple weeks – and every time, I stopped. So far, it just hasn’t been the right thing to do for me.
Do what’s right for you.