Welcome! Typically, bloggers start their work with a mission statement. Here’s mine.
Politics in America doesn’t give us much confidence, lately. Almost anyone you meet in the US will recommend you avoid mentioning politics if you want to be polite. Religion is right beside it on the list.
You know what? That’s crap.
You learn to connect with people meangingfully ONLY by talking about subjects that matter. Congress did a much better job when delegates had to eat together, work together, live in the same place for a while – they had to recognize each other as people. It’s a lot harder to ignore enemies (or friends) when you’re going to see them every day, and it’s a lot harder to look yourself in the mirror if you treat them poorly, too. When connecting with our fellows is more important than dominating them, that’s when we learn.
Connecting does not mean “without rigor.” It doesn’t mean “disagree, but only gently.” Peace and war are each only maintained with effort. Stand up for what matters to you, and with gusto, without being a dick. If you want a fight, go somewhere else. If you want a debate, I want it too – and I think we need it.
Let’s care about dialogues. Critical thinking. Breaking from the party or propaganda for new ideas, for nuanced understanding of old ideas. Let’s believe in standards, in causes, in journalism, in making a difference. Let’s seek knowledge and wonder. No poltical party, no religious (or non-religious) group will be simply dominated into some kind of conversational submission. Anyone for whom that is a goal is either an armchair zealot or an internet troll, and both are useless. Neither have any guts.
Will this blog revolutionize any of our national conversation? I’d love it if it did. I’d like to open up those conversations, and I’m not talking about just rants. I want discourse. Pop music is often mocked because it doesn’t provoke, but provocation without purpose is just as much fluff – it’s grafitti, it’s public swearing. It doesn’t stretch any boundaries, prod any thoughts.
How many meaningful conversations can you have with your friends? How many of them would discuss Democrats, Republicans, theism, atheism, abortion, taxes – without feeling threatened? Would you feel threatened?
I’m going to try to do my part. This blog will provoke. Sometimes it will offend. It won’t aim to insult. This is my commitment to you, and if I inspire anyone, I hope it will become your commitment to your fellow citizens.