It's been a while since I've blogged. You know how easy it is to let time slip away from you. Days are filled with going to work, paying bills, running errands, making time for family and loved ones when you can. You know--"adulting". One day blurs into two days, then five days, a month...then next thing you know the seasons have changed. Twice.
Events happen that you want to share with everyone, and you think "I'll get to it later." Things that were exciting fade in importance, forgotten by the next thing that catches your interest, and again, "Later. I'll write it later." Occasionally something happens that is so impactful, however, that the want to write morphs into something much stronger. It becomes a need. A need to speak out, to commiserate, rage or even simply to ponder out loud.
Writers are an emotional bunch. You may even call some of us "hyper emotional", for many of us feel things on such a deep, cellular level that it affects us in a physiological manner. Because I fall into this category I have, until now, refrained from making political posts on social media. I did not want to open that Pandora's Box. But in light of what I have been witnessing on the majority of the social media sites, I find it difficult to continue to remain silent.
Let me preface what my concerns are by stating that I am not a two-dimensional person. I rarely see anything in black and white. The entire world is comprised of so many shades of gray that the idea such complex issues our country is currently dealing with can be broken down into Category A or Category B is ludicrous. I am astonished by the volume of political posts I see that contain some variation of "if you did this, then that must mean you..." or "if you don't like this that must mean you are in favor of...".
Let me lay my political leanings out plainly. I am not a Republican. I am also not a Democrat. I am not a conservative or a liberal. I am a registered Independent because I am all of these things, dependent upon what the topic is. I did not vote for our current president. I also did not vote for his opponent. For me with it being between the 2 parties it was a choice of the lesser of two evils. But the lesser is still an evil, so I could not in good conscience give my vote to either party. Yes, I voted Libertarian. I have already been told that it's all my fault that the current president is in office, so save your unsolicited, if well meaning sermon on how I have wronged you, please. We will have to agree to disagree on the concept that I don't have a right to vote my beliefs unless they align with either of the two generally accepted parties.
I do not believe in increasing gun control. The people who will abide by whatever regulations are increased or put into place are not the people causing the issues.
This next topic is a huge conflict for me. I believe in everyone's right to making their own health care choices about their bodies. Everyone's, not just women. However, I cannot get on board with abortion in about 90% of the cases. When an embryo is brought into the equation, for me it now about the rights of 2 living beings. Victims of rape, assault, incest and severe medical issues aside there are so many means of birth control I struggle with abortion used as any sort of birth control.
Adding to my internal struggle with this subject is a recent post I saw by a nun of all people, who made it a point of breaking it down in the most thought provoking of ways. Pro-Choice and Pro-Birth, not Pro-Life. Pro-Life is about that child's life AFTER birth. His or her care, education, health care--who will pay for it? Me? You? So is it really pro-choice or pro-birth? I cannot get this post out of my mind. How do you untangle all of this? The idea of a baby being aborted moves me to tears as much as the idea of a child dying from hunger or worse in the streets. Do you understand my conflict? Remember, I said I cannot see most things in black and white.
I believe in equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, color or... Wait. Let me back up and restate that. I BELIEVE IN EQUAL RIGHTS. PERIOD. Why is this still even a topic? One's orientation, skin color or religious beliefs should never be a reason for ridicule, ostracizing or rage. All reactions which are based upon fear, by the way. What are racists and bigots so afraid of? Sexual orientation, skin color or spiritual beliefs are not contagious. But do you know what is? Bigotry. It feeds on fear and disguises itself as anger and self-righteousness, when really it all comes back to being afraid of something we don't understand or cannot connect with. What right do we have to deny the same rights of anyone based upon ethnicity, belief system or who they love?
Something that has baffled me is the amount of anger directed towards the Women's March that took place earlier in January. Why is there so much anger at a group of people who wanted to show a unified front, and managed to do so without rioting, arrests or causing chaos. I get that not everyone agreed with their views and chose not to participate. Great! You didn't attend a march. And that is fine, that is what this country is built upon. Choice. Rights. So...why are so many people so angry over it? Personally I thought it was fairly courageous to put one's self in such a predicament during a time when it's uncertain what can occur during a mass gathering, as evidenced by the ridiculous riots that took place on inauguration day. The potential for ugliness is strong right now. I give kudos to anyone who believes strongly enough in something to willingly place themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
Which leads me to my next point. I absolutely without hesitation support our troops. I feel nothing but respect and gratitude towards the men and women who willingly sacrifice more than civilians will ever know or comprehend to ensure our freedom and rights. If you are reading this and you have served or are currently serving one of our countries branches of military, Thank you for your service. A million times thank you for what you did or do every day. Words simply aren't enough.
A point I wanted to make that, for me, ties this with the women's march I just spoke about is regarding a meme that I have seen numerous times on social media. A picture showcasing women in uniform marching that states, "This is how a real woman marches to make a difference." I have unending respect for the men and women in service to this country. I take umbrage, however, with the idea that I am not a real woman and will never make a difference because I have not served. Even if I wanted to join, the military would not have me due to my age. But regardless, I have breasts and a uterus the same as the women shown in uniform in those memes. How am I less of a woman if I choose to peacefully march with a group of people? It doesn't. It is simply a different way of attempting to be heard. Just like this blog is.
These are just a few the current "hot topics" I see being prominent in online discussions today. If you can call raging at people who don't align with one's way of thinking a discussion, that is. And therein lies my upset. My grief. Emotions are so high right now that I see people talking at one another, not with. I see finger pointing, and blame laying, and people being reactionary. Yes, things are happening right now that are cause for concern, though I feel that is too mild a word. On both sides of the coin, as it were, people are afraid for the future of this country. And with reason, especially for those who feel it is their very rights they feel will be most affected.
But here is the thing. There is so much fear right now that people don't see what is happening. There is a line being drawn in the sand, and it's getting wider and longer with every fear fueled accusation and pointed finger. This is a time where we should be remembering that we all come from the same race-the human race. While we may have different ideas on what being an American means, we must remember that those differences are precisely what this country was built upon. I fear we, as a nation, cannot see the forest for the trees. For the fear. Try to see through the emotions, and use it to fuel the drive to make a difference if that is what moves you. But do so with critical thinking. Arm yourself with knowledge. Don't turn to social media for your "news". Go to the source, and make form your own opinions, not adopt that of a meme or status update posted online. Contact your local political offices to find out how you can help with whatever it is you want to help change.
If as a result of this blog I lose some friends, I will not say I understand, but I can say I accept your choice. I will never end a friendship because we do not agree on something, because I celebrate our differences as much as I do our common interests.
I am not a two dimensional being. And I think and see in shades of gray.