by D. Cupples | Progressive bloggers have often unified over issues like war, health care, FISA, the economy, contractor fraud.... These days, many progressive bloggers are bitterly divided over the Democratic presidential race.
Whether a month from now or five, the primaries will conclude. And we'll need to re-unify over substantive issues, because unity makes our collective voice audible.
I'm not proposing that we join hands and agree on a candidate. Pigs would sooner navigate the friendly skies.
I'm not even proposing that we go easier on our candidate's opponent, be it Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
What I am proposing is this: when emotions flare, why not take a deep breath and remember that criticism of our candidate is not a personal insult against us. Critics of our candidate are not calling our mamas "ugly."
If a blogger or commenter hurls insults, why not either engage civilly or not at all? REturning the insult would only escalate the nastiness.
I don't take such insults personally, because the insulter doesn't even know me. It's like the mom who remains un-fazed when her three-year-old who screams "I hate you" because mom said "No" in the grocer's cereal aisle.
We've seen this before. After 9/11, Limbaugh fans pointed and howled vituperations at anyone who dared question George Bush -- sort of like those creatures from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
A close family member yelled and hung up on me for criticizing Bush, though we're not part of the Bush family.
It was jarring, until I recognized where it came from: severe and undue emotional investment in politicians.
I have been challenged by bloggers who don't like what I write about their candidate -- but for the most part civilly. And I've responded the same way.
Isn't that what the blogosphere is about -- the ultimate in sifting through the "marketplace of ideas"?
I haven't yet converted any bloggers to my candidate, and they haven't yet converted me.
But we're still conversing, which means that when we get a new president and Congress in January 2009, we'll have no trouble re-unifying over substantive issues and making politicians think twice before pushing public policy that doesn't serve the public.
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