Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trying Again

Disclaimer: This post has been building for a few days. Worth noting: I'm hormonal. And emotional. And it's 8:00 a.m.

I've written three posts recently under the subject "Current Events." Each of them I've deleted. Because while I want to tell you how I feel, I already know that many of you don't agree. And I'm not really up for defending my thoughts and beliefs. And while I think it's an important discussion to have, I haven't had a strong enough day to post it here. Maybe later in the week.

Sometimes I want to go back five years. I want to be unaware and unaffected by politics. I want my relationships to be unchanged by our different viewpoints. I want to not care who you support and how much you dislike the president. I suppose, then, I would be less interesting. I would be less truthful to myself and the path I've chosen. But I can't help but think that sometimes I would be at greater peace.

I realize that I don't respond well to anger. I think it's a destructive emotion, and yet all around me, there is anger. Loud anger. Hard-to-ignore anger. Because it's in the news (ie Town Halls*), it's on my friends' facebook statuses, it comes up in conversations. And I feel like it'll be waiting for me as soon as I open my mouth with any kind of political statement.

I have a good friend who hates to argue with me. She says, "You always think you're right!!" And I do. I wouldn't argue a point I didn't believe it, although I will be the first one to admit when I'm wrong. I am very passionate about things and my personality doesn't allow me to bury that. I have walked away from several conversations in the past week or two. On one of those occasions, I was called out. Someone was trying to upset me. On another occasion, I started in before I could remember that I had vowed to stay away from those conversations**. Oops. In any case, it makes me agitated and sometimes, I want to revert back to an apathetic state.

I won't though. I can't. I care about the future of this country and the welfare of the people in it. But I will continue to find that middle ground. A way to talk about the things I belive in, keep the discussion going, and be able to separate my emotions from current events.***

*I had a whole post about this. In short, be angry if you like. Just be respectful. Please.

**Frequently it's my own fault. I don't have to respond to every thought that I don't agree with. I'll work on that. But won't promise not to fall!

***I had another blog post about this. I am built the way I'm built. For me, either fortunately or unfortunately (undetermined at this point), politics IS personal. Because the things in question will affect us for the rest of our lives. Doesn't get more personal than that.


Leah said...

I'm not very political myself, but God bless America that we have the right to vote and have a voice in this country.

I'm a firm believer in the theory of 'agree to disagree.' The hubs and I have conversations where, when there's not a consensus, we simply agree to disagree. Sometimes, I think, it's the best compromise and display of respect. People will not always agree...but they should repect another's opinion.

Amanda Kay said...

Well, I will say that's a very thoughtful opening statement. You do make me curious as to what this post will be about! It's your blog, you have the right to delete comments you think are rude instead of insightful. And you are right, politics are personal because they are directed as to how you think your life should be.

Laura Jean said...

I mostly admire how your passion for politics goes beyond just your gut feelings- you are very well-educated on your views. Not everyone is. Plus, you educate me. And I still don't always believe in everything you do, but I have learned a lot and you've made me think more deeply about what I do believe when it comes to politics. So thanks for that. Love you!

elizabeth said...

I go back and forth. I always care .. but sometimes I choose not to put my attention on it. Like right now. In general, I feel that what you focus on expands. If you are angry and bitter, you will find things to support and feed that anger and bitterness. If you are optimistic and hopeful, you will find things to support and feed that optimism and hope. It is generally more useful to look for things that you can be hopeful about and find a way to support them so that they grow and expand. It is less useful to find things that you are angry about unless you are going to channel that anger in a positive direction. (And no, I don't believe that most of the ways anger is being channeled are at all positive.) When you are fighting against something, it is very hard to find common ground - people fight to win, they don't fight to build consensus and an outcome that everyone can support. Ok .. I am rambling. Maybe I will have something more useful to add later. :)

Side note: During the brief period in my life when I thought I was a Republican and Amy was a Democrat, I loved/hated having discussions with her. She reminds me of you. She is passionate and always always has done her research. I was always having my mind changed about things because I just couldn't argue with logic, LOL.

Julie said...

I like what Leah said about it being a display of respect when people can just agree to disagree. It's true. Politics is tricky but it shouldn't ruin relationships. And also about what Elizabeth said in that people fight to win, not to build consensus and outcomes for everyone. Good food for thought for the day.

Leanne, what I love about you is that at the center of your person is a true compassion and love towards humankind. I think it's the cause you're advocating for and I admire that. :)

Leanne said...

I had a conversation on the phone this morning with a friend in which I thought of a couple more things.

1. I preach a lot. I have lots of ideas of how we can make the world better, and yet I realize (and admit) that I'm FAR FROM PERFECT. I hope that comes across on this blog, because it's so true. I don't always follow through on things, I am not patient enough. I have hundreds of faults, and I want people to know that I acknowledge them, even if I don't dwell on them.

2. It's okay to be who I am. I think the people who read this blog now know me pretty well. And if they don't, then they just might never. And I have to be okay with that.

Thanks for the real-life chat, friend.

Leanne said...

Leah - AMEN. I love America. There are many countries where people (especially women) don't have the freedom to express themselves. Not something we should take for granted!

Amanda - thank you for your comment! I agree, I can always delete if i don't like it.

Thank you Laura and Julie.

Libby - so what is the answer right now? Ignore the anger? That's what I struggle with...like to act or not to act. Which will have the greatest result? Which will make a difference? Does it matter if I do either? Sometimes I wish I wouldn't overthing things. ;)

Leanne said...

overthinK things. :)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the important piece missing in peoples minds is exactly what Leah said, "you have to be able to agree to disagree". There is no way that within a small or large group of people that everyone is going to have the same opinions or believes. This holds true with church, work, circles of friends ect... But just because this is true does not mean it should have a negative impact on any sort of relationship. I feel the problems begin for several reasons: first- the lack of respect for others opinions whether you agree or not (be a little open minded I say). And second- some people feel the strong need to rudely state opinions as fact without thinking or caring that they may be totally offending the other person. These people (the 2nd type more so) are the ones I cannot stand having discussions with since they probably aren't listening anyway and come across as completly self-rightous.

I think some of the problems experianced in our church in the past are due to people like this who force thier opinions on everyone else without recognizing that a single universal way of believing or interpreting that believe is not possible.

That said, I am very fortunate to have a group of friends from church with a very diverse set of opinions and ideas and we have a great time having heated discussions knowing that in the end we all still respect each other and value lessons learned and new ideas gained from each other.

Anonymous said...

sorry for the terrible spelling and ramble.

Scandy said...

As a liberal, I find that we too often let others speak their minds without holding them accountable for what they say. Yes, we all have the right to speak and assemble and peacefully protest...but I have the right to tell you that I don't agree one bit with what you're saying. Liberals need to buck up about that...and, Leanne, I look to you as a guide in this.

I like the idea of agreeing to disagree, especially in interpersonal relationships. The hard part is that the political is personal and the personal is political.

I've too often thought, "Oh, well, I guess they get to have that opinion...and speak it." But to leave it at that and not address what I like or dislike about that can be me being completely remiss as a citizen.

Sometimes, I think I should be more conservative. I want to say things like, "You're wrong and NO. You DO NOT get to have that opinion." But, sigh, that's not the way democracy works.

So, if I'm being held accountable for what I just said, I should be ready to be told the same thing: No, I am wrong and I don't get to have my opinion.

Hmm. Yes, I have heard that before.

I remember back in my high school days our Speech Discussion topic was Hate Speech. I have always held on to one of the statements that was made during one Speech tournament: "You do not have the right to not be offended."

It's true.

With that, I'll continue my dialogue.

Best to all.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion (as a proud conservative) I can't help but think that Scandy is using the conservative/liberal label as something to hide her inability to speak up for herself or have a civilized discussion with other people. To label conservatives as unyielding in discussions shows me that she does not have a very good understanding or is too biased in her views to realize this is not the case. Far-left liberals are some of the most intolerant people out there today, more so in my view than hawkish conservatives. The people that revert to using that sort of dialouge is the very reason why nothing gets accomplished in this country.

My point : speak up for yourself! but do it in a respectfull and open minded manner and maybe you'll learn something at the same time. Don't make excuses if you unable to do so.

ethiopifinn said...

sometimes i want to go back five years, too, to being a smoker. but that would not be good for me now (it wasn't then either, but i didn't choose to act on it). smell what i'm cooking, sister?

I haven't had relationships end or be compromised due to political beliefs, but some have ended or have become distanced due to a difference in other passionate beliefs. Partly it makes me sad to miss out on their company and friendships, but mostly now, I can see that those friendships were seasonal, or transient. I don't really agree politically with my husband, who lives quite opposite on the political spectrum from my Mama, and I don't agree with her much either. I have a hard time arguing without emotion, but I try to keep it to a debate. Other people's opinions can fire me up, but because of my work, I have practice in letting those convos roll right off. I always battle it out (current event topics) with Habtamu, it is what helped me fall and stay in love with him. We don't get mean, or loud, just ANIMATED!!!!! :)

I really value your opinion on things. Your perspective is true and fresh, and even if mine is different, I like reading what you think. Hopefully you will post more on the current events and just use your delete button or even your personal edit button LIBERALLY in the comment section.

Scandy said...


Ah, you see, I was responding wistfully to Leanne's post...not to any of the comments. I glanced at Leah's and that was about it.

When Leanne mentioned responding to anger, I responded about wanting to be less of a Liberal who lets things slide to being more conservative (not being a Conservative) and not letting things slide. There is a semantic difference and I certainly didn't mean to boil things down too far into Liberals v. Conservatives.

There is a rather common criticism of Liberals that we're just so loosey-goosey and can't take a solid stand on things that things tend to slide.

I should've been more careful with my usage. And, really, I agree with much of what you said in your first comment, Anonymous. My wistful point is that sometimes I want to go beyond being nice and respectful and stomp my foot in anger. I want to shut down the conversation and yell NO. I want to end it with the last word...leaving them with the fact that they are w-r-o-n-g. Essentially, I want to throw a tantrum. But, to Leanne's original post, that's hardly constructive in conversation. It doesn't mean I don't want to still do it. :)

And, it doesn't mean that I can't opine in the comment section of my friend's blog.

I try to lead by example. And, if that means sometimes I don't stomp my foot like I want to and tell folks exactly what I think of what they said or did, perhaps they'll also choose not to do any foot-stomping and mud-slinging the next time the opportunity arises.

But, when I need to be, I choose to be assertive over aggressive. It's much gentler on the ears. :)

Amy said...

Hi Leanne,
I enjoyed this post because I can get very passionate about politics... sometimes I get too passionate and get mad and cry out of frustration at apathy and people that "don't see the light"... usually poor Katherine has to bear the brunt of my frustrations. So, I go in spurts. I always care, and I love to express how I feel, often especially if people disagree with me because I enjoy a little discomfort now and then. And then other times, I stay quiet because it does get tiring.
At any rate, it's your blog. I don't think you have to "defend" your beliefs to anyone but yourself.
And I disagree with Lib... I think sometimes it just feels great to get mad. Even if it's not particularly useful.

Leanne said...

FROM HERE ON FORWARD: You are only welcome to post here if you identify yourself. You cannot come here and talk to my friends anonymously.

That gets under my skin.

Now. I have to go feed the kiddos dinner; I'll come back after they go to bed.

Leanne said...

Okay, I'm back. With these thoughts.

Scandy does not need me to defend her. She's a strong, sure woman and I admire her. But I will anyway, because this is my blog:

To call her out was insanely hypocritical. Come on. You're a "proud conservative." So proud you don't even leave your identity. At least she's honest. I love that about her. And praying that she's not deterred from contributing in the future.

Leanne said...

J: Thanks, diva. That was very thoughtful. I never know for sure if my comments are appreciated, thus the constant hesistation. And you're right. Can ne'er go back. :)

Amy: I suspect we are much the same. I get more worked up than I should. I can't understand why everyone can't see it through my eyes, although I acknowledge that the world is made up of lots of different people, and that's what makes it go 'round. And I appreciate that in my better moments. I think we'd be a force to be reckoned with if we lived nearer. :D

Leanne said...

Hate to say it, but I can't ever stop these posts. This discussion is way more exciting than my kids. And from the number of comments, I suspect you agree. :)

(I do have some stinkin' cute kids, though!)

Leanne said...

One more thing for my Anonymous or future Anonymous posters. I suspect many of you know me pretty well. You know my "story" and can see where I started to where I landed. Obviously, my life has been a series of really amazing changes. Some of you I know from my past and some of you I know now. You can imagine how difficult it must be for me to put myself out there. For scrutiny. Fodder for gossip (yes, I am.). For discussion. But I am willing to, because I have nothing to hide.

All I ask is that if you wish to share here, dig deep and find that same gumption. It's worth it.

elizabeth said...

what, Amy disagreed with me?! clearly she is not as logical as I presumed.


I didn't say that it doesn't feel great to get mad. My point was more that if you're always getting angry and mad and not doing much with it but venting, it doesn't do a whole heck of a lot of good and leaves you feeling worse. :) But yes, a good mad from time to time feels grand. ;)

Leanne, I think it totally depends .. truthfully, I ignore it. Well, I don't see it as much. I am not focusing on it so I don't really notice it anymore. When I'm angry, I'm not exactly in a place to listen. I mostly just want someone to agree with me. If you don't, it's just going to fire me up more. That's sort of why I feel it's relatively useless to respond to it .. unless you know the person well and know they're interested in dialogue. :) In general, I just go off and try to focus on being a more peaceful person .. (but I am also a tree-hugging hippie want-to-love-all sort, so you can take anything I'd do with a grain of salt. ;)

On another side note, I always admire people who have the courage to attach their name to the stones they throw at someone. Even if the stone-throwee doesn't know them from Adam, it's just the right thing to do.

Scandy said...

Thanks, Leanne. Never deterred.

A side note, remember I saw Long Lost the other night? He and I both remember you from way back when. He remarked about how much you've always seemed very open, very welcoming, and certainly friendly and able to converse on a wide variety of topics.

Think of where we were all coming from back then...three very different places.

I think that frustration comes when you are a person who is able to conduct yourself within a wide breadth of situations. The more diverse the people you know, the more chance there will be for butting horns. But this is also what makes you so intelligent and articulate. You've got plenty of experience at this stuff. And, balance will not always be attained.

Best to all.


elizabeth said...

I forgot to mention that I always enjoy reading your posts. They are passionate - which I admire and enjoy - but behind the passion is reason and logic (which I appreciate) and a genuine love for all. I would enjoy them even if I disagreed with them. :)

ethiopifinn said...

let me just tell you I was so excited to see 23 comments this morning. i don't have more to add, just excitement. a little controversy in the morning does me good!

Laura Jean said...

Great. Now I have more to add. :D I admire Elizabeth for feeling comfortable where she is. Being involved in all she does, she is certainly helping the country, even politics, whether she likes to think that way or not. :)

I think anger can be a good thing- the problem is being angry constantly. Leanne, I have a thought on that, but I'll share it with you in person, as to not come across as harsh. :P

The reality is, politics heats people up. I mean, this was a "just to let you know" blog, and there was already a bit of controversy. As far as the opininon vs. fact- that can be gray. You say a fact passionately enough, it can be misinterpreted as an opinion. Often times opinions are mixed in with facts. And of course there is the good ol' resources that the facts come from. A news source can twist a fact, or interpret it, based on their bias. It sucks- I wish I could get flat out facts- no bias involved. But that is NEVER going to happen. There is a whole lot going on in the government that we don't even know about. (And I'm not saying that's good or bad, it just is)

Anonymous said...

You are correct, this is your blog and you have the right to demand that people use it the way you see fit. I have my own reasons for staying anonymous on here other than for using it to hide me from my comments. Anyhow, thanks for letting me post, I enjoy reading your ideas, I never fear learning from others opinions. If you took my differing viewpoint of Scandy's post as something negative, sorry! She cleared up what she actually meant. Have a great day!

Leanne said...

I'm not going to delete Anon's comment because of the nod to Scandy. I am going to say, though, that I'm frustrated that you put me in this position.

Just don't comment here on any other threads. It's unfortunate that you won't reveal yourself, though, because your opinions are worth sharing. Whatever. Do your thing.

MindiJo said...

Wow. And this is just a blog about potential politics?

Here's what I think: the problem is, (adding to Libby's comment) both sides think they are logical. Why would you be either/or if you didn't see logic in it? Right?

And I think that whoever's party is currently leading the country will feel anger from the other side. Always. It isn't just with the current president.

And I also think (the whole Scandy thing) that both sides can be sensitive to anything critical from another party. Period. You can't deny that. Whether they meant it critical or not. We're human.

Lastly, I think you are a good friend, Leanne. Even if our lives are vastly different at this point. Love you, always.

MindiJo said...

Thanks for not posting anything too political right now. I'm not in the mood for a real political discussion right now. Not that it matters, tho.

Leanne said...

...says the girl who ASKED me to blog about it. :)

I understand. Always feel free to avoid a blog entry that bothers you. It'll never hurt my feelings if you can't or choose not to contribute.

I can't promise not to talk about things that are important to me, though! (Although you will find that I will stay away from it all on Facebook!)

Love you right back, Mindi. Welcome home!

roogirlie said...

I'm late in commenting but I want to say this: do you know how smartly you voice your thoughts? I love you. We all do. Keep it up, buttercup!

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

I'm super late on this one.

It sucks to feel like we have to censor ourselves on our own blogs.

I'd be hypocritical to say: "Say what you want and delete the negative comments"--because I don't even talk about some of the most passionate things to me on my own blog! (i.e. homeschooling, my anti-vaccine stance, co-sleeping...etc...) I'll add a 'yet' at the end here... Maybe someday I will.

No one likes to be made to feel that they have to 'defend' their thoughts and opinions to others. (And we're generally put in that position by those who aren't respecting them in the first place.)

As far as politics go, things would be a whole lot easier if everyone could just respect one another. But will that ever truly happen? We all want what we feel is best for 'us'. That being said, I love a good debate just as much as the next guy but I just don't understand why anyone has get mean and ugly.

As a fellow blogger, I don't agree with anonymous comments. It's better for someone not to comment at all if they won't leave their name--whether they're leaving a friendly or a contradictory comment...

So, if you want to write about what's in your heart, write about it! You will probably hear from both sides, but you should feel free to delete the mean comments, should they surface. It's a sad truth, there will always be those who can't remember the Golden Rule.

~ Jennifer

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

I was thinking about the anonymous comment thing... Essentially, no one can be anonymous from the blogger on Typepad because you have to enter your email when you leave a comment. So, when someone is anonymous to everyone else on, say, my blog, I know who they are even when my readers don't. I was wondering if there is a way to change that on Blogger...?