This may be one of my weaker efforts, y’all. My spark – or whatever you call it –  seems to be on hiatus.
The thing is, I made a Big Decision last week. I decided to stop writing about politics.  I thought long and hard – and even prayed long and hard – before arriving at this decision, and then I announced it on my blog  –  “carved it in stone” so to speak – just to prove how serious I was.
    I’m currently too sluggish and melancholy to reinvent that particular wheel, so I’m just pasting a large excerpt from said post here, word for word. To you dear souls who follow my blog, I apologize for the rerun. But I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment, and self-pity is a terrible energy suck.
    I’ve decided to stop writing about politics. At least for now. Maybe forever.
    If you’ve been following this blog at all for the last little while, this probably won’t come as a big shock. I’ve grown increasingly discouraged, over the last few months, with the state of political discourse in this country. But since the nomination of Sarah Palin, I’ve moved past discouragement into despair. If you spend any time in the blogosphere, you know how ugly the conversation has become. If you don’t, I wouldn’t encourage starting now.
    When I first started this blog, I dreamed of creating a friendly forum where I could express my rather unique perspective with humor and good will. I say “unique,” not because I think I’m so fabulously special, but because, at the time, I knew very few people like me. As a woman with a masters degree in English literature, working in an intellectual/creative field, immersed in a community of mostly liberal secularists… the fact that I’d embraced conservatism as a guiding philosophy and returned to my Christian faith made me the ultimate 21st Century Fish Out of Water. I thought my point of view might be interesting. And in all honesty, I was lonely.
    So I guess I started this blog, mainly, in hopes of finding some fellow fish – of reaching out to others like me, creating myself a support group. My second hope was that others, who saw things from a different point of view, might show up anyway, read my stuff, and challenge me – and my readers – with their own thoughts on the issues. I hoped maybe we could learn from each other. Again, it was always my fondest wish that this would be a cordial, friendly forum.
    But I haven’t been feeling friendly or cordial, lately. And I haven’t been able to write much, either. As I said in an earlier post, I feel like a poison has seeped into my soul, and I can’t seem to purge myself of it. I’m pretty sure that poison is Partisan Politics. It has infected me. It has infected my family. It has infected my friends. It has infected the blogosphere and the cable news channels and the radio talk shows. There are no rules of decency anymore, no standards of civility, no pretense of objectivity. Each “side” accuses the other of being snide, snarky and derisive. Neither side attempts to walk in the other’s shoes… to see through the other’s eyes.         Each side is totally convinced of its complete and utter righteousness and the wrongheadedness of the other. Each side loathes the other. I know, because as someone with a foot on either side of the divide, I spend lots of time trying to explain one side to the other, and vice versa. It never works. It feels like nobody wants it to work.
    There is no humor in this, no good will. This is not what I signed up for. I don’t know where it will end, but I fear for my country. I fear for myself.
    So I’m getting out. I’m doing my small part to soften the cacophony of screeching voices. I’m protecting my soul. Will I continue to blog? I don’t know yet. I hope so, because I’ve loved this work. I need to find a way to love it again. What I do know is that I won’t be blogging about the upcoming presidential election or anything related to it.
What a sad, earnest, Mopey Miss I sounded like then. And frankly, that’s exactly how I felt. That’s how I still feel. But there’s something else, now, too. Something that feels almost like… resentment. Like having been cheated. I’m not sure who it is I resent, exactly, nor whom I feel cheated by. Myself, maybe? All I know is that I’ve given up something I love – something I think I may even be good at (a rarity for me) – and I’m not sure I did it for the right reasons. Am I really doing something noble – serving the “greater good,” taking the “high road” – or am I simply copping out? Being a wuss? Letting myself be bullied to avoid being a bully myself? (And would that be such a bad thing?)
    When I posted that blog over a week ago, I was absolutely certain of my diagnosis – everybody, including me, had Acute Politics Poisoning! – and sincere in my conviction that opting out of the conversation was the only remedy for me.  The hostile energy bristling through the media had trickled down into my personal life in ways I’d never imagined possible. Friends and acquaintances, people I really like, were starting to behave like Keith Olbermann to my Bill O’Reilly. (Eeek! I will not be Bill O’Reilly!) You might believe that, because I’m an opinion writer, and because some of my opinions are unpopular, I deserve any hostility that comes my way. You might even be right. But I can assure you, I am not an insensitive person, nor have I ever been intentionally unkind in my column or blog. I don’t court controversy for kicks, nor do I enjoy it. I’ve never minded taking my lumps – that’s part of the deal, and only fair – but this was different. Suddenly, the very air had changed.  The Sarah Palin nomination had unleashed an irrational fury the likes of which I’d never seen. (Concern, I get. Disapproval, sure. But fury?) Those of us who weren’t furious were just one more source of fury for those who were. I found that… infuriating. But what’s really infuriating is that it’s been impossible to have a calm, reasonable discussion about this woman’s nomination. With anybody.
    I like a spirited, good-natured debate (remember those?), but I don’t do fury. I don’t intend to stoke it, and I sure don’t intend to be consumed by it. Essentially, I’m a lover, not a fighter. That’s why, at this fraught and fragile juncture, polite disengagement seems like the best option for me. If we can’t behave like ladies and gentlemen, I’d rather not play.
    So I won’t be writing about Decision 2008 (even though it’s the Best Election Ever). I won’t be getting anybody’s hackles up or raising anybody’s dander. If you see me out and about, I’ll just be smiling prettily, nodding agreeably, drinking as much wine as possible, and cultivating  peace in my little corner of the world.
    I’m feeling more peaceful already. Can you tell?