Saturday, 18 February 2012
Why I Don't Post About Politics
In a recent comment Mr. Charleston of Termites Of Sin said that this blog is never controversial because I stay away from politics and religion. I have been thinking about this comment on and off ever since; it's been bothering me. I like Mr. Charleston very much, his blog is, by turns, funny, acerbic and chatty, and always worth reading. He includes posts on religion and politics, although he keeps their number to an acceptable level.
He is quite right, I do stay away from politics. The thing is that many of my readers are American and Canadian, there are those lovely Aussies too, and a few Europeans sprinkled among the mix. My UK readership is relatively small. I don't know why that should be so, but it is. So whose politics would I discuss? Religion and Politics are not subjects for discussion in drawing rooms in the UK. They are shunned by polite society because they easily cause discord, anger, hurt and leave an unpleasant feeling in the atmosphere, unless all participants are of the same opinion, in which case it's hardly necessary to bring the subjects up. I was brought up in a politically highly charged environment, listening to the men in the family dissecting politicians when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Politics is in my blood. I worked in politics and liked nothing better than to continue the family tradition of riding the politics hobby-horse.
But now I am older. I still have opinions, but they have mellowed; I am one of these infuriating people who 'can see both sides of an argument', although that doesn't mean that I will ever get into bed with bigots or fascists or extremists. I'd call myself a left-leaning middle-of-the-roader, I suppose. My firebrand grandfather would disown me, although he, towards the end of life, regretted having risked his life for people who turned out to be "idiot ingrates, who deserved no better than they got", in his words.
In the blogoverse there are plenty of specialist political bloggers, who address a very particular readership. I don't follow any of them. I am simply not interested. Friko's World is a kind of butterfly blog, touching on this and that, never staying anywhere for long and never getting bogged down in any subject. A bit shallow, you might say, but also inoffensive.
This is my point: if I started to discuss politics I'd have to keep my remarks pretty neutral. Even if I watch some American politics, in particular foreign policy, with open-mouthed incredulity, no American citizen would thank me for expressing my opinion. And no American citizen, no Brit or European, no Aussie or South African, no Indian or Asian would thank me for 'interfering' in matters which 'are none of your business'. I see it a bit like a family, which denounces its own black sheep at every gathering, but is instantly ready to rip to shreds the outsider who dares to join in! We may live in a global village, where every action has repercussions for every inhabitant, but we still close ranks if the family next door mentions the stink coming from our kitchen.
If ever I feel really brave, I might mention why I don't discuss religion.