Another Political Shit Show
5 weeks into quarantine and I’m seeing that we’ve turned death and dying into another political shitshow. I’m not sure why we do this. Maybe it’s because we cannot fathom that we have absolutely no control. Maybe it’s because we’re bored. Maybe it’s because this scares the shit out of us and the best way to deal with fear is to find someone to blame. Maybe it’s because if something doesn’t directly impact our own lives we don’t care. Regardless, I’m triggered.
As I scroll through my social feed I’m seeing so much anger stirring up. Friends, and friends of friends, and just random people that I follow are beginning to share political posts. I’ve seen posts about conspiracy, warning me that I need to “wake up.” I’m seeing name-calling toward entire groups of people. I’m seeing the declaration that “my” way is the only way. Vulgarity, anger, and scarcity are now filling up my feed where just a few weeks ago it was togetherness, understanding, and hope regarding the bond of a shared experience.
I’m trying hard not to gaslight here because I believe wholeheartedly in protesting and bringing forth issues that matter. I’m all for people expressing their concerns, speaking up about their beliefs, and fighting for their rights. I just can’t stand that it’s mostly done passively, behind a screen, while using the word “dumbass” to describe why we do or don’t stand for something.
I’m also SHOCKED that it seems what most people are claiming to want is for everyone to be exactly alike. Do we really want a world where we all believe in the exact same things? Where we only surround ourselves with those who think just like us? Where all voters are on our side?
I do not. I think it would be pretty f’ing miserable to only have one point of view. I would suffocate under the hot blanket of restriction. Have you ever seen one of those documentaries on what happens inside the closed doors of cults? Rape, murder, riots, and suffering from those all claiming to think alike.
It’s not the politics that divide us. It’s the trigger of fear. When we hear someone call us a name, or think differently from us, or go after something that scares us a whole host of unresolved childhood issues arise and we are forced to feel things that we’ve been trying to avoid for a lifetime. How do I know? Because it happens to me too. I’ve tried to use hate and anger in the name of compassion on many occasions. But every time I close the door and pull down the shades I find that it’s just as scary inside as it is out. I’ve had to work through a lot of my own baggage to understand this point.
If not for the challenge of my beliefs I would be living a VERY different life. I would be unhappy, lonely, and defintiely drunk. If things always went my way I would probably start feeling entitled and believe that my experience on Earth was more special than others. I might even begin to think that I am in control. But that’s not even close to the worst part. If it weren’t for the vast differences in humans I wouldn’t see the world through the eyes of someone else. There would be so much less joy, less compassion, less gratitude, and less love. My experience would be boring and mundane.
We don’t have to agree on how to deal or cope with this pandemic. We can be different and still make it out okay. But I bet that, politics aside, we do agree that we don’t like this, we’re scared, and that death is sad. I’d even bet that we are way more alike than our social media feeds lead us to believe.
If you think this article is attacking one side, it’s not. In fact, it’s that very belief that I’m trying to combat. This is about my very deep fear that we have replaced advocacy with name-calling and fighting for our rights with finger-pointing. It’s about my concern that once we’ve expelled all of our energy shaming people on the internet that we will have nothing left for the actual issues. And it’s about the pit that I get in my stomach when I see that we believe that retreating to the safety of our “side” will somehow protect us.
My 8 year old son came to me very recently and asked me what “democrat” meant. It was a proud moment as a parent. I hadn’t yet boxed him in. He didn’t know which side we voted for but he was very clear that our family will vote for the person that promises the highest good for all. He understands that when we win collectively we win personally.
When I start to feel the anger rising I remind myself of my core values (when it comes to politics) which I stole right from the good ole’ Pledge of Allegiance. I believe in Liberty and Justice For All. Not just all those that think like me.