Two weeks later, the BlogHer 2008 conference is still so much on my mind. I absolutely adored the conference and learned so much that I am not even close to assimilating it all. But there was one aspect about the conference that bothered me, in hindsight. Perhaps it was a function of the conference being only one day and taking place in Washington, DC in an election year, but the political focus was very, very narrow. Politics was defined as blogging about the election, the political process on the Hill, about politics as it is reported in the mainstream media, working with the mainstream media, etc. Basically it was about cutting it with the Big Boys in the blogosphere and elsewhere.
There was a subtle opposition set up with the “mommy-bloggers.” One woman even asked one of the panelists in one of the “social change” sessions (I am paraphrasing): “You started off as a mommy-blogger. How did you make the shift to political blogger?”
I am not trying to hate on the woman who asked this question. I don’t think that she consciously meant to imply that mommy-blogging is apolitical or less political than blogging about electoral politics. But I noticed the unconscious implication in her question.
Most mommy-bloggers are being very thoughtful and intentional about parenting and their lives. Whether you’re blogging about your parenting or about the election or about finding love…you’re reaching out in the world and speaking your truth. When you write about your challenges with humor and insight, it not only gives you but another reader just a little bit more strength to face the next day. I have read posts and have gotten three-line comments on my posts that have shifted the way I view my life and act in the world. Blogging is a way to help take care of ourselves and each other, which is critically important if we want to build a better world.
All this, to me, is intensely political. “The personal is the political” has become a cliche, perhaps, but it’s as true as it was when it was first coined in the 1960s. In my mind, blogging (publicly) is even more political than traditional journal-writing because of the implicit audience out there in the blogosphere. Blogging is a public act, a declaration of self and an appreciation of community.
That is why I am ecstatic that I have become a bit of a blogging resource to some of the mamas I know. (Lord knows I am way behind others in Web 2.0 profiency, but I’ve been at it in my low-tech way for a little while and have built up some street cred, apparently.) Two mama friends have recently looked to me for advice about starting a blog, which is an enormous thrill for me. Another mama friend is always writing emails and posting about various green and other topics, and I encouraged her to start a blog. Apparently I picked up on something she had already been thinking about, and she is in process, as far as I know.
All of this to say that blogging and bloglytizing is political for me. (I wish I could say I coined this term, but in a google search it came up in some post on a teacher’s blog. Oh well. So much for me having a completely original thought.) I feel like I’m making a difference by helping in some small way to enlarge the public discourse going on in the blogosphere. It is important to me to empower other mothers (especially other single mothers) to find their voices and to get public about the things that matter to them. I don’t care what you write about, but if YOU care about it, the authenticity will come across in your posts and it will ring true for someone else out there. That’s how we make change — by reflecting and acting intentionally in communities.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I too am a Mama for Obama and I am all about influencing the political process, Baracking the vote, and being engaged in changing policies that affect the lives of people nationally and internationally. But politics is far broader than this. Let’s not exclude conscious parenting, and conscious loving, from the political realm.
So please…get out there and vote next Tuesday, if you have not already — and help a friend start a blog!
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.