Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Used To Like People

I used to like people. I really did. I loved sitting down with people and talking about ideas and philosophies - I was on the goddamn debate team in high school (and if you haven't already noticed, this one is NOT going in the baby book!). I made a point of casting a wide net, and making friends who were different from me, because I thought they were interesting. How boring would life be if we all agreed on everything, if we were all the same?

I don't like people anymore. No, seriously, I am sick to fucking death of people and their politics. And people can't seem to talk about anything BUT politics these days, and I have had it. Had. It.

This morning, a friend's Facebook status got BJ and I going, to the point that we were scaring Claire because we were debating so vehemently. And this evening when I got downstairs from putting the kids to bed, a completely different person was baiting me via chat.

I can't talk to half my family anymore without getting into it (and no, D.C.M. you weren't the straw that broke the camel's back this time, and you were most pleasant and non-political the last time I saw you, so stand down!). I can't talk to 49% of my friends anymore without hearing Glenn Beck's talking points. I can't get on Facebook without seeing someone's Flickr stream from their latest Teabagging (and for the record, eeew! I don't think that means what you think it means). I can't even talk to my own husband about anything that may be relevant on a national scale without risking someone sleeping on the couch.

It has got to stop.

I don't know everything. I can't solve the economic crisis, fix the national debt, improve our relations with Iran and North Korea, get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan safely and without lasting consequences, and in my spare time fix education, the infrastructure, the space program, and every other thing that's wrong with this country and this planet. I wouldn't even know where to start, which is why I choose to be a fucking BOOKKEEPER instead of a politician.

I know that I believe that we can do better. We can do better for our children by improving the schools, we can do better for the weakest and sickest and poorest among us through national health care, and that maybe if we sit down and talk to people we can figure out some of the answers to some of the really hard questions that face us, as a society.

I voted for the person who, I thought, agreed with me. And he was elected. And I truly believe that he is doing the best he can in the face of unprecedented cynicism and obstruction.

I am not prepared to debate you, or you or you or you, and especially not you on every nuance of the president's latest speech, on every one of the four dozen things Rush Limbaugh is pissed off about today, and on every Fox News article you've read. I am not going to engage with you anymore on matters of opinion or politics. I am no longer going to get angry when I see signs that say things like "What's the difference between the zoo and the White House? The zoo has an African Lion and the White House has a Lyin' African." Because if the president can rise above that kind of trash, then so can I. He doesn't let it get to him, and I won't let it get to me, either.

But I will say this, before I go to full radio silence on the subject of politics for the next 3 to 7 years - we are not going to accomplish anything by name calling. We are not going to solve any problems by calling our leader every name from Anarchist to Zoroastrian (particularly when you don't understand what the names you're calling actually mean!). We are not going to serve anyone's best interests by yelling "You Lie!" in the middle of an address to Congress.

You may not have voted for him, you may not even like him, but show some respect.

And be careful of the company you keep - because if you align yourself with the haters and the racists and those who would rather shout about problems than try to fix them, you are at great risk of becoming one of them.

That is all.

I am finished.

Otherwise, I may find myself without friends, family, and a husband before this is all said and done, and no one wants that.

If you try to discuss matters of politics with me, in the future, I am going to simply reply, "I don't talk about politics." Instead of constantly bitching and moaning and fighting about things, I'm going to do something, and I would encourage you to do the same. And by do something, I don't mean pout like a baby and hold signs about how awful the president is - I mean get off your computer and fucking do fucking something - volunteer, read to a class (preferably not anything published by Fox News), organize a fundraiser for a disease that needs curing, be on the school board, go to a local government meeting, organize a neighborhood watch... Do SOMETHING.

Because it's very easy, and very cowardly, to sit at a keyboard, from the safety of the blue glow of your monitor, and pick on people whose views might differ from your own. It's easy to change your Facebook status to reflect that you support x or y cause. It's easy to blog about what's wrong. But it is NOT easy to be part of the solution.

We have enough problems.

I have enough problems.

Thankfully, debating with my friends and family is no longer one of them.

I don't talk about politics.


Cathie said...

It's no secret that you and I do not see eye to eye on political matters. And I have NO problem NEVER discussing them with you (or much of anyone else for that matter) again. But for the record, such things would ABSOLUTELY NEVER come between us. I agree with you, that differences are what makes the world go 'round. I love you. A lot of the reason that I love you is for your "thinkoutsidetheboxness". You are not cookie cutter. You challenge me. I appreciate that. However, I also respect you and your wishes. So, I respect your vow to silence.

angel0199 said...

I don't want politics. I want pretty babies!


Heidi said...

Well said.

And you may find that avoiding the subject is easier than you think, especially following this statement. My best friend and I have polar opposite views on religion and politics. But we're still best friends. We just don't discuss it. Same with most of my family. Ignorance and intolerance can be, well, intolerable in those we love (especially in those we love), but for the sake of peace, love and harmony we learn to pass the baked beans and hold our tongues. We may not be able to change Great-Uncle Henry's racist views, but we can shape our children's.

I think what you said about doing something - anything - is the most valuable. We all talk the talk, but we don't always walk the walk. You made me realize that I haven't been doing my part. Yes, I could plead "three-kids-four-and-under", but that doesn't really cut it, does it? So today I'm signing up for the next benefit walk in my town.

What will you do?

Amy said...

Good question Heidi!

The best, and hardest, volunteering experience I ever had was when I worked on the Crisis Line in Indianapolis. There's one in our town, and I'm going to find out what it would take to sign up with them.

I'll post results soon. :)

Anonymous said...

One word - Zoloft?????

Have the T-shirt said...

While I feel strongly about a lot of things, I've never been one to argue to the point of high blood pressure. It isn't that I care, I just feel like you're not going to change someone's opinions.

When people who quote Fox News to me or Rush, I just shake my head and move on.

Auntie Ann said...

Religion and politics- No matter how hard people try, I will not change my mind on what I believe and chances are slim to none that I will not be able to convert others to my way of thinking. The best thing about being on-line is the ability to delete. I use that key alot. Now if I could delete people when they bring it up in person...

Anonymous said...

I don't know you and I have never read your blog before, but it was emailed to me today by a friend because of this entry. I love it! I agree with you 100%. Everyone else can be armchair politicians, but I for one am out.

Good luck to you with this, I am sure you can do it!

Anonymous said...

Amen sista ;-)

Jamie :)

Jen said...

"because we were debating so vehemently."

Is that what you call it?

Hope you're feeling better - looks like you got a nice sunset!