(Skip now if you’re not interested. The crafting and love of horror and sci-fi will be back before the end of the week.)
The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’. – Larry Hardiman
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.
As much as I would like to refrain from all political discussion, that makes me part of the problem. If I’m going to be part of the solution, I need to be willing to discuss political things with people who are willing to talk about them.
That said, I don’t know enough about all the political issues facing this country and I have come to recognize that live in a bubble. That’s a sad statement for a descendant of a revolutionary war veteran. I aim to fix it.
Part of the reason my blog has been quiet has been me giving myself a crash course in the President-Elect’s political stance and reading about the people who supported his White House bid. There has been a lot of reading to do and a lot of fact checking to go with that reading. The political Pants-On-Fire meter has been pretty high all around, not just on the President-elect’s side of the street.
There is no moral high ground, as much as I would like there to be a moral high ground. Say what you will about the President-elect and the company he keeps, it’s his business dealings and the number of lawsuits and investigations he’s involved in. Maybe Bernie Sanders, who was the reason I caucused as a Democrat this year. I really liked his track record and the way he seems to fight against Big Money and for The Common Person.
As part of stepping out of my comfort zone and owning my need to participate more fully in the political discussions going on around me, I need to state for the record that I consider myself a political moderate and an Independent. (It says that last piece right on my voter registration card.)
I’m a social progressive: I want to make sure that everyone in the United States of America has a fair chance for everyone to succeed, no matter race, creed, social status, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, religion, or any other thing that someone might throw out that could be used to try to divide the people of this country.
I am a fiscal conservative: I’m not against taxes. I like roads and public safety and a basic level of education for people as much as the next person and I’m glad to do my part. Probably more than some. I know that there’s only so much money and other resources available, so we need to spend in the most efficient way possible.
I was raised in a working class family living in a middle class neighborhood my parents could barely afford because they wanted to give us a better chance at a good education. I grew up seeing hard-working people and believing that an honest day’s work deserved an honest day’s pay – that work was dignity and there was no shame in putting on your work jeans and getting your hands dirty.
I read a story on NPR last week where one of the people interviewed said that the Democratic party should stop putting social issues at the forefront of the party. To me jobs and the economy are social issues. They’re tied to basic human dignity, which everyone in the United States deserves to have.
It’s really hard to have empathy and compassion for another person when you’re struggling to meet your own needs yourself. I can understand that.
This combination is why I consider myself a moderate. I’m always trying to find the middle ground. Balancing these two things is difficult in the first place.
It’s even more difficult with the political pendulum swinging to the far left and the far right with no one willing to meet in the middle, which is where I stand. It feels like I’m standing alone in the bottom of a well, shouting to both sides to try to find common ground.
It’s not a comfortable place to be. It makes it very tempting to want to keep my head down, lest the swinging pendulum take off my head like an Edgar Allan Poe story. I’m not liberal enough for the liberals and I’m certainly not conservative enough for the conservatives (though I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to know that I put “learning more about my second amendment rights” on my to-do list for the next year.)
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be concerned about the President-elect’s plans. I am terrified of what the next four years could bring if everything the media is saying turns out to be true.
Putting aside all the terrible, extremely quotable sound bites and the discord surrounding the president-elect and his twitter account (and I find them appalling both in and out of context), but is it just distracting another issue: he’s never held any public office before and now he’s in the highest office in the land. (There’s a well thought out post on the topic here.)
When I first saw that Donald Trump was running, before the first horrible sound bites started appearing, a president with no experience in a public office sounded like a recipe for disaster to me, which is why I didn’t vote for him. The other things? Icing on the cake? Additional proof that he wasn’t ready for the highest office in the land.
Or maybe we’ve elected this century’s version of P. T. Barnum and he’s brought the sideshow to the Oval Office. P. T. Barnum was brilliant. I wouldn’t want him for president, either. Look at this distraction over here. Pay no attention to what I’m doing behind the scenes.
Is it really just coincidence that the Vice-President elect went to Hamilton (where there was bound to be some kind of scene) just as the news was hitting that the President-elect was settling his Trump University Lawsuit ? I have no proof, but I have my doubts, obviously.
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that I still need to learn more about all of this. I need to step out of my comfort zone and make more people with more viewpoints part of my life. Not just politically. In all of my life.
Edited to add: I was also extremely uncomfortable with the number of lawsuits and investigations against Hillary Clinton. I realized I hadn’t said that explicitly in the above.