I promised myself that this time around, that during this election season, I would stay quiet.
I wouldn’t post political statuses.
I wouldn’t recommend any political articles on Facebook.
Of course, I would allow myself to “like” them. Because “liking” something on Facebook is the ultimate form of passive-aggressiveness…
Oh, I’m sorry that you saw that I liked the fact that this guy said you were an idiot. I didn’t realize that was going to be on my timeline. I certainly wasn’t intentionally throwing my opinion in your face. Even if I am right.
Unfortunately, I’ve not gone as politically incognito as I’d planned.
What’s that saying?
Never discuss religion or politics?
Admittedly, and this is not breaking news, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when it comes to all of the things. Especially, the things I believe strongly in, the things that really matter to me.
But, I do often regret posting links to political articles. Not because I don’t agree with them, but because I don’t want to be lumped in with the drinking the Kool-Aid crowd.
A crowd that I absolutely think exists…on both sides.
You know, the sheep.
But, me? I think and decide for myself.
I don’t watch MSNBC or Fox News, because I know what their aim is: to make money off of manipulating and igniting people’s feelings and vulnerabilities.
In my opinion, these networks have found their niche and are nothing more than blatant propaganda.
Now, if we could jump in my super-cool time machine and visit the eight year old me, you’d find I haven’t changed much at all.
I’m still an overly-sensitive, overly-emotional, bleeding heart, who wants to rescue everything and everyone.
The only difference now, is that I’m not as afraid of voicing my beliefs. I care much less about offending someone. And, I say fuck…a lot.
Yes, if one had to predict back then which political party eight year old Allison would be affiliated with as an adult, the left would have won in a landslide.
I’ve heard it all before.
The bleeding heart liberal comments, meant to be taken as a negative putdown and terrible criticism. They always make me chuckle a little…someone slamming me for wanting to do good by others, human or animal.
How dare I care!
But, rather than trying to eloquently explain how I arrived here, and what’s formed my opinions, I childishly fight back with insults of my own.
Selfish. Bigot. Unpatriotic. Nationalists. Bible-thumpers.
Never taking the time to ask others what has led to their beliefs, but desperately wanting them to know what’s led mine.
I was raised in a very conservative household. Most of my eldest family members are die-hard Republicans, of the Fox News variety.
And, I had, what some would say, a privileged upbringing; never wanting for much.
I’m the opposite of a minority.
I am white, straight, and financially comfortable.
I am the poster child for Republicans.
And, yet, I’m a bleeding heart liberal…the black-sheep of the family.
Much of this is surely due to those innate personality traits that I have no control over.
I cry when I see a slug in pain. I cry about most everything. I internalize the pain of other beings. I always have. Am I too sensitive and completely irrational? Sometimes. But, I wouldn’t trade it. It has allowed me to connect with people and animals in a way, and on a level, that I don’t think I could have otherwise.
I cherish that.
However, there are certainly external experiences that have solidified my liberal leanings, and made them stronger. As is the case for everyone, right or left.
For one, there are people I love, who have been unable to survive on their own. But, luckily, they’ve been given everything, lifted up, and supported in their time of need by people who love them.
So, I often wonder what would happen if she didn’t have family to support her? What if she didn’t have anyone to help her with food, and shelter, and medical expenses?
Would other people help her? Would there be a safety net in place for her?
Or, would she be homeless, starving on a street corner, or under a bridge somewhere?
If she didn’t have us, would I want her living in a society where it’s every man for himself?
The thought of someone I love not being lent a helping hand in their time of need? The thought of them being told to fend for themselves? The thought of them being forgotten and swept aside?
It terrifies me.
Because, the cold hard truth is that, the only reason she is alive today is because she does have a family who loves her and, more importantly, one who has the resources to help her.
But, how many people just as worthy as she is don’t have a family who is willing and able to support them?
Are their lives not worth as much because they aren’t as lucky?
I want to live in a country that helps those who have no place else to turn.
A country full of people who, when they see a homeless guy, or mentally ill person, or a drug addict, ask themselves, “What if that were my family member, or someone that I love? Wouldn’t I want someone to help them, if I wasn’t around, or able, to do so?”
Rather than in a country where people’s brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and loved ones, are labeled as moochers and freeloaders, because they’ve been unable to make it on their own because of fill in the blank.
Becoming a parent has also proven to strengthen my beliefs.
I often hear people say they are voting for the right because of “family values.”
But, here’s the thing, family values are subjective.
They are not one size fits all.
And, I too, am voting for the left because of family values.
My family values.
When I take a step back and look at both candidates, I wonder if either one of them will really be any different once elected.
My guess? Not so much.
For two reasons:
Once elected both will inevitably gravitate closer to the center, and not act on half of those things that outrage one side and appease the other.
And, as for our current economic state, barring any drastic measures, I don’t believe the President has much influence over it. It’s cyclical, and is going to even out on it’s own, and in it’s own time.
To me, who we elect is much more about the message that it sends, and the tone that is sets, than anything else.
Which brings me back around to family values, and the kind of message I want my boys being exposed to, and the kind of people I want as their role models.
(And, no I’m not talking about every Republican that exists, I know plenty that also don’t drink the Kool-Aid, I’m just talking about the overall message of the party right now.)
When I hear The Right propose a ban on gay marriage, to me, it’s synonymous with bullying. It sends a message that it’s okay to discriminate against someone who is different than you, as long as you’re in the majority. To me, it’s no different than a a group of kids singling out someone who is different than them, punching them in the gut, taking their lunch money, and banishing them to sit alone at a separate table in the school cafeteria.
Ditto on religious intolerance.
What if one of my children is gay? Or a practicing Muslim? Imagine one day discovering that your own mother voted for someone who thinks you are less than?
When I hear a bunch of old, white men, attempting to make decisions for women, to me, it’s no different than if I were to teach my boys that it’s acceptable to try to control and disrespect their female counterparts.
When I hear people shout that we should be an every man for himself society, to me, it’s the same as raising my children not to stick up for people, and to not practice empathy and compassion.
I simply refuse to teach my kids that it’s acceptable to discriminate, bully, and fail to stick up for others, no matter how much power, influence, or privilege they may have.
So, you see, these are my family values, and why I vote the way I vote.
Kool-Aid hasn’t a damn thing to do with it.
And, no matter the outcome of this election, I will continue teaching my boys what I think is right and wrong.
Just as I will continue to kick and scream and voice my beliefs, and probably call people assholes and bigots along the way, no matter how much I try to restrain myself.
Because, when it comes down to it, my family values are just as valuable as yours.
Update: Tomorrow is Spirit Day. So, slip on your purple and proudly stand by your LGBT loved ones, as you stand up against bullying!