For the past couple of months, my brain has been working on two posts for this space. Now I may never post either of them, and I’m not entirely sure why.
One involves the 2024 election—how it’s the first election in which I have a deeply personal stake in who wins. The other concerns the Israel-Gaza war. Even though I’ve mulled both of these at length, I cannot shake a sickish feeling deep within my chest, the sense that these are not yours to post.
Israel-Gaza has inspired thoughts in me from the beginning, many of which I haven’t seen articulated in mainstream or social media. So there might be value in saying (posting) them out loud. But they have a certain reserve from the raw events on the ground, as though they come from my head and not my heart. They feel like what I’ve called “the arrogance of the abstract.”
The election post has run into its own quagmire. Here I am, having voted since 1976, and it takes till 2024 for me to have a deeply personal stake? This makes my observations feel like small potatoes compared with those whose lives could be upended by every election, especially people on the margins. My post feels too me-centered right now, too removed from the larger landscape.
Neither post, at this point, would do what I believe this blog (and my whole vocation) want to do: to spur myself and others to explore certain aspects of life as honestly and openheartedly as we can, within ourselves and with one another.
It may seem like overthinking to ponder this question in today’s “post everything” social media landscape. On the contrary, it’s precisely today’s social media landscape that makes this kind of pondering useful.* So…how do you decide when to speak, or post, and when to keep your thoughts to yourself?
*Here I’m alluding to the suggestion (original source and wording unknown) to ask yourself three questions before saying anything: Is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind? Do you use this formula? How has it worked for you?