It’s not been a great week for conversations around politics in the country, I think that much is obvious.
It has been, too, a hard week moderating conversations in our Facebook group.
With an election result that few saw coming, emotions are heightened, conversations flammable and despair for the future among many pervasive.
Perhaps because Mich and I are open about our own politics, perhaps because we don’t shy away from sharing the values we hold dear and the policies that reflect that, there can be an assumption that a Shameless space is an exclusively left-leaning one.
This week we need to be clear it’s not.
I won’t lie, we struggled this week. We struggled to understand and appreciate our role in the conversation, we spent hours pondering the power of a space where people could argue and name-call under the guise of emotion and frustration.
Most of this week, we struggled with this one idea: Where do you draw the line between empathising with inevitable anger that comes with a conservative party re-assuming power, and creating a space where everyone feels comfortable with expressing who they voted for and the personal reasons that drive that?
There is, we have found, a fine line between endorsing critical thinking and ensuring the space doesn’t become an echo chamber, while equally protecting the people who feel most affected by the policies of a party who largely denied gay marriage and continue to ignore climate change.
If there’s one thing we want you to know, it’s that we’re trying to shape a space that’s healthy and productive for all of our end games.
Because here’s the thing: There are people in my life who believe wildly different things to me, who dream differently, who hope individually, who want the shape of their world to look a little different to the shape of my own.
There are people in my life who are looking for different things in their world and their future, who want things I don’t, who dismiss things I seek.
I love them dearly because people aren’t one-dimensional and their votes don’t denote the full spectrum of who they are.
To make sweeping generalisations about why they voted differently to me is reductive, ignoring the forces that make us all tick and the stories that shape how we feel.
Which leaves Michelle and I with one overriding and almost unanswerable dilemma: We want all of you to feel safe and heard and protected in a space we created for you.
How do we make that happen without it coming at the expense of any of you?
Stay with us, because we’re working on it. That much I know.