Over the past twenty years of writing this blog, many posts have been controversial. A controversial post begins with some people attacking my position and some people defending my position, then people debate each others’ opinions. My last post was not controversial. It was just bad. I knew it was really bad when the most mainstream readers and the most radical readers were both telling me the post was not making sense. No one was agreeing with my position.
Many times you ask me how I cope with haters—people who tell me I’m an idiot or wish I were dead. Actually, those are really easy comments to deal with because those comments don’t make me reconsider that I might be completely wrong in my thinking. Well-reasoned comments from thoughtful writers make me think deeply about myself. Those are the difficult comments to cope with. And I’ve read about 250 of those comments this week.
I kept trying to figure out why I would write a post about a topic I didn’t know enough about. I didn’t say anything new. Why did I do that? I think I wished that I knew more than I did. I guess I tricked myself so well that I thought I could trick you.
I hate writing that, so I will have to change topics.
I work a plot at the community garden. It’s two blocks from my apartment but it’s like a century away from my blog: almost everyone there grew up farming in the South and has been growing vegetables in this community garden for the last 40 years. I take care of a garden plot when someone is sick or busy. And I listen during breaks when people sit in the shade talking. They’ve known each other for so long.
At night everyone takes vegetables home. I stop and buy sugar. We haven’t had sugar in the house for three months. I bought a box of sugar and used it all up this week. I put it on everything. Because it’s hard to be wrong. It’s hard to be wrong and have people work so hard in such genuine ways to explain to me why I’m wrong. What helps is telling you what I learned from all of your comments. Here’s what I learned:
- A vote for Biden is a vote for an administration not for just a person.
- Black people don’t need me to protect them by complaining about Biden.
- I don’t understand enough about socialism to forfeit my vote in the name of socialism.
- I can hate Biden and still vote for him.
- I can understand that our democracy is near a breaking point and still participate in it to try to save it.
Being a good writer is being honest, constantly, about what we know. And then checking again. To make sure. What I know is that I’m trying really hard to be part of this community garden and I’m gentrifying it and I don’t want you to see that. And I love the people in it so much and instead of just being with them and loving them I have this urge to write an academic paper or something because they are history. I want to tell you about each of the people I love but I worry writing about them on this blog will turn them to stone.
I want to do good. I thought I was doing good by telling you that voting for Biden is scummy. But one of the most popular topics at the garden is how important it is to vote. The community at the garden is vibrant. They are activists. They talk about getting relatives in other states to vote. I am ashamed that I told people not to vote. The truth is that my blog community and my garden community are aligned and they are not two blocks away or a century away. My blog community and my garden community are both in my heart, and I have to keep them there by writing honestly and being open and not being a poser and a jerk. That is hard for me. Thank you for helping me by taking the time to tell me when I’m wrong.