And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Getting Political

I'm depressed about the whole election thing. So much so that I'm going to blow off my chiropractor appointment this morning because I just don't feel like going. And I'm not even gonna call -- I'm going to pretend I forgot. Whoa, look at me rebel!

I've been posting my political thoughts to my March Moms e-mail list, and I have been trying to tread very carefully. I know there are members of the list who feel differently about certain issues than I do, and I know they feel equally as strongly as I do, and I know that they have put thought into these issues just as I have -- we've just come to different conclusions. That's everybody's prerogative (cue Bobby Brown), and I don't want to offend. It's just not the place for that.

But here -- it's my blog, and I'll kvetch if I want to!

How, how could Bush have won again? How can people not see through him? I know that my Weltanschauung is colored by my high personal emphasis on intelligence and intellectualism, but as far as I can tell, he's just not smart enough to be president. I used to think that was okay -- that he surrounded himself with good, well-informed people to help him make decisions. I won't judge someone for using their resources wisely. BUT THEY'RE NOT GOOD, WELL-INFORMED PEOPLE! Donald Rumsfeld scares me, as does Dick Cheney. And I'm sure I don't even know about half of the people who have the president's ear.

The popular vote is once again so close, and what does that say? To me, with the parties' platforms so polarized, it says that approximately half the people in the country really strongly disagree with the other half. That just seems wrong. A diversity of opinions, sure -- that's America. But two opinions, at opposite ends of the spectrum, with half of us believing one and half of us believing the other? It's a tug-of-war, and it's apparently going to go on for four more years.

Honestly, I look at some of these issues as no-brainers, and I just can't understand the viewpoint of people who stand on the other side from me. Abortion rights? To me, a no-brainer -- the person who's going to have to be tied to a child for 18+ years should make the decision as to whether that's the right choice for her. Sure, I think people should be educated about and take responsibility for their sexual activity -- remember, this is the woman who waited until she was 21 and a college graduate before having sex -- but I think an 18-year-long sentence is an awfully harsh punishment for mistakes or thoughtlessness.

Gay rights? Including the right to marry? Again, a no-brainer for me. Why should anyone who is an adult and able to make his or her own decision about every other aspect of his or her life be denied the right to choose a partner for life and enjoy the same privileges almost everyone else in the country does? Why do we feel the need to intrude on the happiness of couples who have found each other? Because it's not what the mainstream does? Yet I firmly believe that hardly anyone chooses their sexual orientation. And so why should we punish a subset of citizens for something they haven't chosen?

Prayer in school? The Ten Commandments in a courtroom? How clear does the Constitution have to be about the separation of church and state? How can we not look at societies like Afghanistan under the Taliban, Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, Israel under Jewish rule, and others and realize that maybe those founding fathers knew what they were talking about? That maybe it's not such a good idea to have people who think they know what God wants be the ones making the decisions for everyone else in the country?

Obviously, what these issues have in common is that some people believe that there is a morally wrong side and a morally right side to them, with those morals founded in their chosen religion (generally, but not always, Christian). I wonder what our politics would look like if we could just set these issues aside during the election. So many seem to vote primarily based on where they stand on these issues, whether that's in their best interests related to how the country is run or not. Sure, it gives candidates an easier banner to stand behind (on both sides) and allows them to skim over complexities that can really matter to people. We wouldn't want people to really have to think now, would we?

I was listening to a pundit on CNN (sorry, I just can't keep track of all the names) this morning who, very reasonedly, interpreted the results of the election to mean that the Democrats just aren't listening to the voice of the people whom they want to represent -- that they think they speak for a lot of the people in the country, but that they really don't. And I wonder, is that true? All -- and I mean all -- of the Democratic principles represent my viewpoints. Inclusion, taxing to pay for things rather than just running up debts, separating church and state -- I can't think of anything I disagree with the Democratic party about, unless it's having to kowtow to people in order to compromise and get things accomplished. (Yes, I'm even "left of my own party," as a local campaign ad was accusing a candidate of being.)

So am I that out of touch with the mainstream? I don't feel like I am. I'm a typical suburban mom, raising my kids and making a living and trying to live the best life I can. How can I be viewed as wrong by so many people in this country? Does this mean I don't belong here? Not that I'm seriously threatening to pull up stakes and move to another country, but it does cause some existential doubt. Just as I have internal conflict about whether I should still call myself a Catholic when I so vehemently disagree with many fundamental principles of the Roman Catholic Church, I'm wondering whether I'm really an American. I know I'd like to consider myself a part of the majority, but apparently, at this point in time, I'm not. It's depressing.

1 comment(s):

yeah... your "Weltanschauung is colored" alright.



By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 PM  

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