There are many firsts as we begin our lives as bloggers. Registering for the first time with blogger.com or your tool of choice. Choosing you first blog template. Executing that first "link." Adding the first bunch of bloggers to your blog roll. Publishing your very first post. Reading the first comment that makes its way to your site. All of these are blogger milestones, those things that get us "jazzed" and propel us along in this journey called blogging.
Today I have another personal first. It's not one that gives me great personal joy, as those I've just mentioned. But it is something that I feel I must do: I've asked Mike Sanders to take me off his blog roll. I've never asked to be removed from a blog roll before. Yeh, it's not too smart in terms of linkage and google results. But sometimes you have to say, "enough."
The idea of removal was something Mike mentioned a while back. He offered to remove anyone from his blogroll that couldn't define terrorism, or who didn't think terrorism was always wrong, or something like that. I have neither the time nor inclination to search through his archives to find the exact post. I do remember this--when I read it, I had a little urge to say: "Remove me." It was too Bush-like for me... Too limiting. That "You're either with us or against us" mentality that doesn't sit well with me. But I let that go, figuring Mike was just hot-headed over the current state of affairs, which was understandable.
There's a lot in the middle here you'll never know. The emails I've received from Mike that I felt insulted and provoked by. I won't go into them here. Mike's view is that emails aren't for the public square, and I'll respect that.
Instead I'll say this: I blog, in part, to learn. That means digesting what others have to say. It does not mean rushing to judgement, putting up walls, tearing down ideas, labeling people, or name calling. Mike Sander's post today where he goes after Mike Golby is just that kind of post, and it's not his first. He takes a shot at Doc and others he's labeled "peace bloggers" too.
On Golby, Sanders says: "For me the breaking point came when Mike Golby continued to express his virulently anti-Israeli viewpoints which were picked up in varying degrees by others. The irony is Mike seems to be a nice guy and if it wasn't for his diatribes I would probably still be a friend."
This is both painful and exhausting to me. I'd like to just leave it up to you to figure out what's wrong with this. I'd like to say: If you can't figure out for yourself what is wrong with this, then find a Blogging 101 course -- no, a humanity 101 course -- and sign up. But it would be a cop out to stop here...
...because there are so many things wrong with it.
-Labeling another blogger as "pro" or "anti" anything--especially anything that strikes at the core of their personal belief system--without giving backup is wrong.
-Picking apart bloggers who are brave enough to get personal on their own blogs without daring to get personal yourself is wrong.
-Posting inflamatory comments on your blog without a comment mechanism for others to contribute to the conversation or defend themselves is wrong.
-Using your blog to deliberately inflict pain on others is wrong.
-Using a global medium to state your views without acknowledging the global context and ramifications of what you say is wrong.
-Accusing others of being unfair and insulting when you practice the same regularly is wrong.
There's more. Isn't there always? But I hope this gives some reasoning to why I am drawing the line, why I am saying, "Take me out of this conversation, remove me from the discussion, take me off your Blog Roll please, Mr. Sanders."
There are some who will read this and say, "Oh, she's just allied with Mike Golby." If you take out the "just," I'll agree with you. I am allied with Golby. I see in him a level of humanity and caring that is refreshing and sometimes astounding--and its something he has brought to the art of blogging that has inspired a whole new era of bloggers.
Seeking to become more than "opinion bloggers," Mike and I stand allied together and say, "We will put ourselves into our blogs; we will get personal." What we give you is not just words and current events, but the context for our words and life events, the dramma, joy, and tragedy that has informed us and our words. We try our best to reach through your screen and touch you on the arm--"Hey, we're here. We're *really* here." We dare to give you the whole picture.
If you think that isn't personally dangerous or risky, then you haven't tried it. And maybe you should.