There was once a time, not too long ago, when I had the privilege of finding politics boring.
In this episode of his podcast, John Green talks about the terrifying terrors of climate change and even more terrifying ease with which the “rich world” can feel separated from them.
It can be 120° outside but many of us can turn on the A/C to a comfortable 74°. We can go to the grocery store and get strawberries during any season of the year.
Even if climate change is happening, it’s not happening in our lives.
If you were a farmer, surfer, or if you were homeless, you’d care about climate change because you have to. You’d care because it's real to you.
The day Trump became President, I moved through the world in a vague cloud of unease, rather than in a fully-formed position of defiance. It felt as if aliens had begun to invade the earth, but they were still deplaning their UFO and a photo of their weapons had yet to leak.
Desperate for any tiny act of personal rebellion, I immediately donated $100 to Planned Parenthood under “Mike Pence.” Because if I knew anything, it was that our new Vice President might be an even more regressive and women-hating person than our President. And together, they would likely advocate for change that’d be dangerous to my well being.
I stopped finding politics boring.
Politics are made to seem more convoluted than they actually are.
History books, legal jargon, and the silly, dated, inefficient procedures make the average person feel distant from bureaucracy. Beneath layers of tedium, political matters just stem from core moral values that anybody can understand.
So yeah. Let’s dumb it down.
Right now, there are a lot of shitty people with trash values deciding how we should live, what we’re allowed to do with our bodies, what values our future kids will grow up with.
They’re telling us that families deserved to be ripped apart and it’s okay for children to be locked up in cages. This isn’t a reality that all of us can relate to. But we all have loved ones, and we can imagine how traumatic it would be to be forcefully, indefinitely separated from them. It should be common sense that human beings shouldn’t treat other human beings like this.
They’re telling us that women who were raped should have to go through the physical, mental, emotional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy and dedicate the rest of their lives to raising a child that they never planned for – one that, no matter how much they grow to love, was conceived in probably one of the worst events of their lives. The idea of someone else weighing my health risks and my future livelihood against their personal beliefs baffles me.
Basic human empathy. Ownership over your own body.
These are a few things that matter to me. These are a few things that have always mattered to me. It never occurred to me that I’d have to defend such fundamental values against anybody, much less those with zero respect for experiences outside of their scope of understanding.
The Kavanaugh-Ford hearing is a caricature of some major issues in our national discourse:
People of questionable character in positions of power
It’s infuriating the way people think this case ends at its verdict. Even teenagers can understand that the issue goes beyond that courtroom. Whether or not Kavanaugh is innocent, the hearing brought out undeniable character flaws that reveal him to be quite unfit for a position of this caliber.
He’s a blubbering idiot that can’t wait his turn to speak or answer a simple yes or no question. He’s shown himself to be rude, aggressive, and temperamental. Before evaluating him as a judge, I’ve already dismissed him as a person.
In the middle of this process, Trump mocked Ford at a rally. He hijacked the conversation and “weaponized victimhood” in presenting a skewed picture of men’s fear of false accusation as more important, worthy of sympathy, and necessary for defense than a sexually assaulted woman’s trauma. He just trods along collecting other misogynists in his pussy-grabbing fraternity to perpetuate toxic models of behavior towards the women in our country.
It’s tough having a vagina. The world literally needs us yet we are abused, silenced, gaslighted, and ridiculed for the wrongdoings of entitled men.
Watching these events unfold left me disappointed but not surprised.
However, it did light a fire under my ass. Prior to the last few years, I was that millennial – uneducated and unbothered because none of that which transpired in that big room with the old white men ever trickled down to my life.
I can forgive myself for that – our capacity to give a fuck about something depends on how much it overlaps with our personal realities. Now that I’ve become aware of that overlap, I am empowered to take full responsibility for the values I want to uphold.
Political issues are personal issues.
Whether the issue is reproductive rights, immigration, or some other divisive topic, the question you should be asking yourself is not “What political position do I take?”
But rather, What kind of person am I?”
Figure it out.
You have until October 22 to register.