The AP reported last night that Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wants John Edwards to fire two bloggers on his staff because of past posts. The bloggers, Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte, published posts on their site that strongly criticized the Catholic Church for its stance on homosexuality, abortion and contraception. I myself have criticized the Catholic Church for the same reasons and, being baptized Roman Catholic (I am recovering as they say)—I feel I have a responsibility to criticize when I see a spiritual stance, or a dogma that hurts so many. This gets to the point of what I wish to write about.
Why on earth would Edwards take heed of Mr. Donohue’s demand and fire these young bloggers? Not that he would, but Mr. Donohue’s suggestion is absurd to say the least. If I were to fire everyone from my life who did something or said something contrary to my beliefs, or said something that I deemed rude and inappropriate—I would be a very lonely, stagnated, gal. I run with a diverse crowd. People around me, including my dear family (immediate and acquired) often say things that piss me off and offend me. That, Mr. Donohue, is life. And I am glad for it. If I only gathered around me folks who thought the same way I do, said the same things I said, and behaved in the same way I do, I would never be challenged. I would never be questioned. And . . . I would never grow. Stagnation kills, Mr. Donohue. Furthermore, such a stance is not democratic and Edwards is running a democratic campaign, not, I am assuming, a dictatorship.
Bloggers today are more than the simple odd counterculture group writing about their personal lives: dates, relationship problems, music, TV and the like—they are, often, touchstones to the beat of the nation’s pulse. One should never confuse bloggers with news reporters. We are not news reporters, but a hybrid born from the editorial persuasion united with the water cooler talker who reflects on politics, social issues, cultural issues, religious issues and the like. Bloggers of this nature are passionate creatures; this is what makes their posts interesting and worthy of a read. When campaigns embrace bloggers, they need to embrace the spirit of blogging. If, for example, Edwards were to freak out over this non-controversy and fire these ladies—hiring, instead, writers who would tow-the-line in creating bland posts which offends none and moves even fewer–he would be a fool. Also foolish would be for political campaigns to avoid hiring any blogger who did not write passionate posts, or who never offended a soul. Campaigns who do this want simple advertisers, not real voices who challenge the status-quo. In that case, please avoid hiring true bloggers.
Interesting related post: A look at John McCain’s blogger-consultant