There are unspoken rules in mom-blogging. For example: Don’t talk down to your readers, don’t insult your spouse, don’t overshare about sex, and definitely don’t talk politics.
After I graduated from college in 2007, I started a terribly unpopular blog on current events and politics. George W. Bush was president and as a staunch democrat, it was easy to find things to rant about. The problem was–it was boring, not because politics are boring but because I was.
When I started Motley Mama four years later, I imported some of those posts into my new blog and continued to reference my affinity for the liberal agenda. I quickly learned, however, that sharing political views in this sort of space is unfailingly volatile. I lost readers and even a few friends after not-so-subtle insults and eye rolling about conservatives. It wasn’t long before I cut out politics all together. It wasn’t shame, it wasn’t fear, it was the hard truth that politics and mom-blogs just don’t mix; much like a dinner party–it’s best to keep things light.
A year later and my caution has grown. Not just on my blog, but on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as well. I’ve begun to limit, and in many cases completely abolish, any mention of the upcoming campaign or my thoughts on hot button issues like Planned Parenthood and healthcare.
It’s strange. I feel like I’m keeping this giant secret on behalf of everyone and no one. I don’t want to offend anyone and yet there’s no one specific to offend. I don’t love it.
I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I grew up in a Republican family and went to a largely Republican school. After the 1996 election, my entire 5th grade math class booed when the the principal announced over the loudspeaker that Bill Clinton had won against Bob Dole. In high school, I wrote essay after essay on the importance of the pro-life movement and turned up my nose at those crazy, drug-induced left wings. It was only after four years at a liberal Mennonite university that I began to understand the other side of the story, and by 2007–I was marching in rallies and avoiding tear gas.
Here’s the thing: discussing politics is tricky in almost every social situation, not just on the internet and within the blogging community. It’s also church, book-clubs, bars, baby showers–most of the time we feel like it’s better to keep our mouths shut.
I suppose I just miss the conversation. I like talking about something other than cloth diapers and one year molars once in a while. And really, I don’t care what your political views are. It doesn’t matter to me if you love Sarah Palin, Ralph Nadar, or Mitt Romney. I just want to talk. I joke around about conservatives because I’m the kind of person who jokes around about everything. I also probably watch a little too much Jon Stewart.
Look, some of my closest friends and family members have starkly different beliefs than I do, and while there have been a few awkward conversations and heated discussions, most of the time we just accept each other for who we are.
That’s my wish for us in this space, too.
A few years ago when Obama was running against John McCain, I was emailing my Grandma about my frustration with those close to me over their unwavering support of the republican party. I’m sure I was being very immature and dramatic, but my grandma is one of those grandmas who is very, very patient. I will never forget what she wrote that day. She said, “God can work through anything, even a donkey. How about that? Little pun.”
Your thoughts? Are you a blogger who avoids politics or do you let it slip in? As a reader, how do you feel when a lifestyle or mom blog shares their political beliefs? What about baby showers or book-club? Is there ever a good time?
Share. It’s safe here.