An Unabashed Political Rant Where I Actually Use the L Word

by gillis

The debate is playing on the tv in the next room and I can vaguely hear some of what is being said. I think I’m hearing just enough to increase my blood pressure to the pound-of-bacon chased by a bag o’ Fritos level. I can’t watch it. I feel crazy sitting there listening to the candidates verbally sparring. The truth is that my mind won’t be swayed by anything either of them says and I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller coaster this election season, truly picking the lesser of two feebles.

I have a hard time understanding how other people could take in the same information that I take in and yet have a world view that is radically different than I. For instance, doesn’t everyone believe that females are the equals of males? And shouldn’t all government policy reflect that belief? Are we intentionally turning ourselves into a third world country by restricting sex education and reproductive rights so that our poorest women end up barefoot and pregnant due to ignorance and lack of opportunity? That’s how I see it. I cannot imagine that there are folks walking this earth feeling that we should have the right to own as many weapons as we see fit, but not to control the destiny of our reproduction. It cannot be. People cannot really think that the government has no place in helping with education and healthcare but it should make decisions about how many babies I have or do not have. And don’t talk to me about personal responsibility. I grew up in a family of seven children. I know what responsibility is and I also know what opportunity is – if you don’t see a way out, you don’t get out.

I’d also recommend that no one get me started on marriage equality. How can the same people who want the government to take away trade restrictions want to keep restrictions on folks who want to make lifelong commitments to one another? Wouldn’t more family stability lead to a better quality of life for everyone? I simply don’t understand it. Argh. I could go on and on…looks like I will.

Yep – I am a liberal. I don’t think I’m overeducated and I don’t feel guilty about any advantages I’ve had in my life, but I do feel the responsibility to pay it forward so that others might climb up a little higher too. I’m so liberal I cannot, in good conscience, register as a democrat because in my mind they simply don’t go far enough to protect the rights of those who need help speaking up for themselves. I live these beliefs each day when I go to work in a public school. I know that I have influence over how students see themselves as learners and citizens and I try to make a thoughtful, positive difference in children’s lives. I know that seeing the world through the eyes of the kids I work with has shaped my belief system immensely. When your work is primarily concerned with imagining the future rather than preserving the past, you tend to see things through a lens of hope and possibility rather than a lens of fear and isolation. I suppose that’s why I feel very emotional when I hear our presidential candidates talking about beefing up the military and slashing benefits for the needy. It hurts. And I think we can do better.