Although for me this issue is really done with, I wanted to add a quick note here because a lot of commenters on my censure post have made some valid points I wanted to respond to.
Firstly and most definitely importantly, the decision to remove the post was mine. I thought about it a lot and decided I wanted to remove it because I didn't want to cause offence. Not because I thought the post was wrong but because I didn't want to waste airtime in debating and defending it.
A lot of bloggers defend to the death their right to say whatever they want. I don't disagree with that, but my blog is, for me, more than a soap box. It may have started out as nothing more than a diary of sorts - in fact a way of letting our friends at home get a glimpse of our big adventure over in Thailand in 2005 - but it has become something much more than that.
Through my blog I have become part of a community, and while there is most definitely a lunatic fringe around that community, in the main it is filled with wonderful people, many of whom have become friends in the very best sense of the word.
And because I value that community, so very much, I accept that I have responsibilities alongside rights. I took down the post because sometimes belonging means putting a sock in it, even if you think the offence taken is about them and not you. Sometimes the harmony and bonding of the community is more important than having a say or being 'right'. We all of us have our sensitivities and intolerances and ignorances and while to us they may appear obvious or righteous, the truth is there is no reason to think they are universally understood or agreed.
I recognise this is a fine line, and there would definitely be times when under similar circumstances I would not have removed a post. When I would have said, I have the right to my view and I don't care if I offend, that there is a principle at stake here and that I will not be censored. But this wasn't one of those times.
I used the word sadness in that post not anger. I wasn't complaining about my choice but it does make me sad that it isn't easier to be part of a community, that it isn't all plain sailing, in which we are all fully and completely accepted for who we are and spared from criticism and hurt and the pointing out of our flaws and differences. At the moment in which those differences are in high relief I feel very sad indeed.
But with time, and the kind words of others, the sadness fades, and I can be more philosophical. The price of community is worth it. The difficulties and negotiations and holding back are part of a cost that I am generally glad to pay.
Sometimes I have enough energy to try and barter a better deal, sometimes I am prepared to try and change the direction some of those negotiations go, or even how they take place. Sometimes I can stand up and be a leader in that community, or a builder of that community. Other times that seems to hard, too much to pay, the rules seem unfair and I feel like the outcast.
But community transcends. A time in the wilderness is always followed by a renewed embrace, and no doubt there will be a time somewhere over the horizon where I am plunged back into doubt. Hopefully that will keep me on my toes, keep me honest and humble, and appreciative of the moments of harmony while they last.