A season in hell: American Politics and me
I’ve been politically active since the age of 8. I liked Jimmy Carter and I knew in my bones that he was a good man, trying to do good. I probably didn ‘t understand the difference between Democrat and Republican. I didn’t think Reagan was a bad man, but he seemed shouty and more angry. I didn’t feel safe with the shouting.
For the next 8 years, I became who I think I’ll always be, politically. The funny thing is, I don’t ever remember my mom or grandparents talking about candidates, per se. They talked about principles and issues in the elections. Sen. John Heinz was very popular in our household. He was a good man, trying to do good. Arlen Specter was a bit less popular, but still respected. They were republicans, but they served the people of Pennsylvania. Our household was resolutely Democratic, I knew that. My devoutly Catholic (Raised in an orphanage) grandfather and casually Catholic grandmother, and my damned-divorceé-but-believer-in-Jesus mom, and me.
I grew up during the activist-practice era of the Church. There was a moral obligation to put Christ’s teachings into action in daily life. Be it a soup kitchen in a homeless shelter, mentoring disadvantaged kids, speaking out against the death penalty or war, or offering sanctuary in a church in Chilé or Nicaragua: it wasn’t enough to believe, we had to emulate Christ.
For better or worse, this is why I fight for a better world. I am an amalgam of a specific era of Catholic ethics, an obsession with superheroes, and my hippie mom. With a lot of logic and reason.
Politics in the 21st century, nauseates me. It is a welding of identity to hatred, on both sides. To me, this accomplishes nothing. It’s spinning our wheels in quicksand. Yes, I will most likely vote a straight democratic ticket this year, because it is the only port in a storm for me. I long for a political field with integrity for days, and good men and women trying to do good for all their constituents. I want a tougher choice when I go to the polls. I want to have to make A choice at all.
I believe that the party I have been part of since I was 19, is a better choice. I want everyone to look at the candidates, look at the issues that matter to them long-term, examine their consciences and ideology about the kind of world they want to live in, want their children to live in, and vote according to that and not their own wallets.
I am writing this as we enter the final leg of this season in hell we call an election cycle. I work on these issues as part of my real-life vocation and as my avocation, my raison d’etre.
Decisions are made by those who show up. Show up on November 6th.
ETA: fwiw, logic and reason won out, I kept the ethics and ditched religion. I am pro-choice, pro-equality of every stripe, and pro-social justice.