I'm all talked out, kittens. I just truly don't even care to try and engage in meaningful debate anymore. Way back when I first stumbled upon blogs, I found it fun to find interesting things to read and discuss on the internet, with intelligent and interesting people. No, I'm not talking about crappy forums where people just fight. I'm talking legitimate spaces for sharing thoughts, working through thorny issues, having one's mind changed, changing another person's mind, etc. I relished the back and forth of respectful debate, the logical mind exercise of thinking through something and trying to deconstruct it. The first blog that I found, and was active in, was Feminist Mormon Housewives. I managed to find it in the fall of 2004, right when it was recently founded. I was dating a Mormon at the time, and wondering what kind of space there was in his faith for liberals, feminists, free thinkers. Taking part in that blog over the course of the year we dated in Dallas, and the year we dated long distance while I lived in Japan, really helped me. A lot. I found other blogs, and started my own once Myspace finally sucked me in during the early part of 2006, when I was halfway through that year in Japan. I had always loved a good (honest, civil) debate, and I found a lot of it online. Once I joined FB, there were lots of linked articles and posts to hash over with my friends (liberal and not liberal) and on the whole, most were civil and engaging. I found such interactions to be a nice exercise in logic, and it was fun to talk with people who had varying view points.
Often times in the past I have touched on controversial subjects on my own blog, or have presented strongly held and sometimes contentious viewpoints. Those blog posts were often extensively researched, and I felt like I wanted/needed to share them. I am no wallflower when it comes to politics, and I am open about being an activist. I volunteered for two years as a Democratic Precinct Chair, and I served as a delegate to the National Convention in Austin. Throughout undergraduate and graduate school I have taken part in more student actions, and signed more petitions, than I can count. I am a proud and regular voter, I've registered others to vote, and I have marched in rallies with homemade signs. I have cried over laws passed, laws that left me just so broken hearted and defeated that I just wanted to give up. But I didn't, and I haven't, and I won't.
But what I do want to give up- at least for right now- is all the talking. All the writing. Because let's face it. 99% of it is pure wasted time. It might be fun for me to craft a zinger of a response, or a witty counterpoint, or a scathing post, meticulously researched, on how unfair X, Y, or Z law is. But in the end, I'm usually preaching to the choir. And it's usually, honestly, a waste of my time. I think it served a purpose for a long time, I do think it made me more open minded, more temperate, more logical, and it allowed me to really develop a firm understanding of why I believe the things I do. And I learned a lot, and changed a lot. Right now, however, the thought of engaging in debate just leaves me exhausted. I put a moratorium on myself that I recently rescinded and it just left me annoyed, and further reinforced that sometimes, it matters not how logically one presents an argument, it will inevitably not change anyone's mind. I'm not interested in writing blog posts that just bring out the cheering section, and I don't really believe that such posts would cause someone to change their position, because I have very little faith in the powers of my own writing, and I have enough sense to know that this blog doesn't have a very large sphere of influence. I'm growing tired of choosing the words, of sharing the facts, of offering the caveats, of addressing dissent before it is raised. All of those bob and weaves used to be fun, and now they just feel so laborious.
I'm still politically active. I'm still signing those petitions, and volunteering, and fighting for what I believe in. Tonight, I rejoiced when I received my text from HRC that same sex marriage had passed in New York. But as much as I'm giddy about the news, I truly have no desire to write a long and thoughtful and passionate blog post about it, and then field potential comments, good or bad. I feel the need to say that I do, still, get inspired and motivated by reading such material, or skimming over an interesting political debate. I'm just not at all interested, at the moment, in creating it myself. Maybe it will come back. Maybe it won't. I'm just tired of expending the energy, and I was never tired before. It used to be fun. I would think of a turn of phrase, or a good point to make, and I would enjoy it. Now that I'm tired of it, and bored with it, it's probably a good move to stop spending my time on it. I've gotten to where I don't even care to talk about it amongst friends. I'm just. talked. out. I think I'm also pissed off that we're STILL having to talk about some of these things in the first place. For God's sake, I want to stop debating "whether or not we should let gay people get married". Or "is health care a human right?". Or "should evolution be taught in schools?" Or "does feminism harm men?". Blurrrrrrgh. I just want to be in a place where certain things are just accepted. Debating such things just reminds me that so many of my morals and values must still be defended on a constant basis. I told Bobby I was annoyed with having to start from a baseline of fighting for legitimacy in the first place. I don't mind doing it at the ballot, or in an e-mail or letter to my senator, or on a phone call to a registered voter to tell them to get out and VOTE. I am, however, minding a lot having to talktalktalk about it. Especially when so much of it is a song and dance, a little formality, with neither party really having any intention of changing.
I'm feeling dangerously close to the apathy line, and I can't let myself burn out now. I believe far too strongly in way too many things to let myself get taken over with ambivalence. If writing it all out, if presenting and defending arguments, if engaging in debate, if all of that is wearing me out it's not worth the mental exercise I used to enjoy. The action is what is important, anyway. All the rest is just chatter.
Post title from Walt Whitman, my favorite poet.