August AtoZ: Politics and Love
Oh, Zeus. Please don’t let today’s letter be “P”. It is, though. Shit.
[password-protect]Here’s my problem. Just last night I was instructed by a non-fan to stop writing about politics on my blog, and to keep my ignorance to myself. Or something along those lines.
And of course, now it’s going to look like I’m specifically writing about politics on my blog just to be facetious. Because this individual will never believe that in my A to Z Month of Controversy, the letter “P” was already scheduled for “Politics” several weeks ago. So now I’m going to come off as a snotty bitch. Which I am — don’t get me wrong — but I’d at least like to be referred to as such when the shoe actually fits.
Oh well. Can’t please everyone. And I’m not changing my A to Z agenda to appease one person. For that matter, nor am I changing the structure of my blog — MY blog. I mean really, if you’re so unhappy with what I have to say, you have three options:
1. Don’t read my blog. Duh.
2. Continue to read my blog, and let it eat at you because you refuse to find someone else to be angry about.
3. Continue to read my blog, and since you have so much to say about it, make your own blog dedicated to arguing with me. Hope that works out. I tend to avoid reading shit that annoys me, so I doubt I’d ever see it, but I wish happiness and joy upon you. And glitter! Lots of glitter!
Now, where were we? Ah! Politics!
I am a leftie. But I was raised a rightie. So I am definitely the black sheep in my family. It ain’t easy being green in a crowd of bleeding blue.
I can remember clearly the day I realized I wasn’t a Republican. I was attending classes at our local community college, where I obtained my Associate’s Degree one measly credit hour at a time over a ten-year period. The class was Western Civilization, which I loved. Amazing, because I don’t tend to do well in history classes. All those names and dates to memorize — no good for me. Give me stories of people, and put them into context, and I’m sold. Otherwise… meh.
But that’s what this class was about. Stories of other countries, and how they perceive the United States of America. How the world came to be built before Americans barged onto the scene. How leaders from other nations view things differently from the so-called “leader of the free world”. How there are ideas and perspectives and cultures and beliefs and thoughts that exist not just separate from, but completely unencumbered by, the U.S. of A.
I’m sure I knew all this factually on some level — I must have, given that I grew up overseas as a military brat. But it never sank in so much as during that particular class. The feeling of exaltation that washed over me was unbelievable. The understanding that I belonged to something larger than myself — that I belonged to an entire world, not just one small parcel of land — was immense.
I ran straight to my email and sent out a mass message to everyone on my list.
People, hear this if you hear nothing else I ever tell you:
Don’t send out mass emails. Recipients get seriously bent out of shape. They don’t give a shit that you’ve just discovered yourself. If they wanted to know that sort of thing, they’d likely talk to you in person a whole lot more often. Or they’d chat with you regularly on Facebook or Twitter. Or they’d follow your blog. Mass emails are invasive and presumptuous.
Yes, I still do it sometimes. I’m a jerk like that. But you already knew this.
So I emailed everyone and my mother — my very Republican, very Baptist mother — about the wonderful discovery I’d just made. I told the world — my small world:
“Holy crap! I just realized I’m a Democrat!”
My parents stayed quiet on the subject. After all, colleges are renowned for having “liberal agendas”. Education isn’t something conservatives are fond of, for it feeds knowledge and fuels debate. It enables rebellion. It gives to the masses a great and terrible tool: WORDS. It also teaches the differences between fact and opinion; self and society; home and Earth; responsibility and neglect. So it was clear I’d been brought under a really bad influence.
I received several mixed reviews.
“My condolences!” replied one pal which I now, in hindsight, recognize as not really very funny after all.
“Unsubscribe!” cried another. I told you about the effect of mass emails, right?
“Welcome to the dark side!” joked a friend I’ve managed to keep somehow through the years.
And my personal favorite, from my then-best-friend and now-husband:
I always knew you had it in you!”
Yes, he knew my political affiliation before I did. How does THAT work? All I know is that politics, along with philosophy, and a heavy dose of reading material, is what drew us together.
Politics doesn’t always have that magnetic impact. Unless you consider that sometimes magnets are opposites which force each other apart.
That’s what is happening in my life right now.
Politics has sealed my relationship with my hubz, while at the same time driving a wedge between me and the rest of my family. Or, if I want to stop placing blame elsewhere, I should say that my pursuit of a firm grasp on politics has driven the wedge. Okay, let me just be blatant: I have driven the wedge.
There, I said it: It’s my fault, and I’m the bad guy.
I am reminded of families torn asunder by the Civil War. Sons and brother fought on separate sides, shooting each other for what each felt was right. I know this is overly dramatic. But it’s still the best representation I can come up with for what’s happening.
I feel as though I’m the North, and my family is the South. This is of course a self-serving and convenient image to portray; I’m well aware of that fact.
Surely other families suffer these differences of opinion, too. Yet I don’t see them torn apart over it.
I believe the difference is in the level of passion. My parents’ emotions are extremely deep, and mine are no less so, for all that they are on the opposite side of the fence.
Much like with the Civil War, there can be no middle ground. I don’t know how we can find our way back to each other with politics — and my firm grasp of that wedge — standing between us. The divide is lengthy, the hurdle great, and the bridge of love is stretched thin enough as it is. They can now no more overlook my political stance than I can overlook theirs.
Can there be tolerance in politics? Can there be friendship and forgiveness? Can there be love?[/password-protect]
Throughout the money of August 2012, my dear friend Aaron @dadblunders and I are doing a dry run of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. This past April was my first official participation in such activity, and I had no idea what I was doing. No theme, no forethought, purely spur-of-the-moment. This time around, I have a plan. Join the fun!
For this event, I am engaging in a month of controversy. Consider yourself forewarned.