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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yeah. Maybe Next Time

Literal: Community cannot be created by force.

I am bound to learn this eventually on my journey. If the Buddha had it right and we are meant to return repeatedly until we learn all of our lessons to find pure enlightenment, however, I'm betting it'll be one of those I work on in another life. I can rationalize its truth but my temper leaves me far from the ability to put it to practice. And I am not terribly concerned about it beyond the fact that it makes me less of the person than I aspire to be.

I began my political and cultural awakening as I was entering adulthood. I imagine that is probably the time when most people do. I entered society, found my place in it, looked around and saw the way that things worked in this democracy of ours and determined much of it wasn't working very well. Throughout my 20s and into my 30s I became more passionate about my beliefs and identified them as being a part of my core. They were not bred from a place where I was raised to believe them, they were a part of my genuine understanding of the world, its failures and what we could do together to make it better. For everyone. I have always identified as a liberal or a Democrat. I find much of my personal tenets in the platform, but not all of it. Today, I identify more as a progressive. I like the term better and really couldn't identify its variance intelligently, so I won't try. I have seen failings of those elected with the "D" after their name and decided that, personally, a progress, would be my ideal.

Of course, the progress I aspire to is of my own determination. The whole wide world doesn't often go my way, so I am not naïve enough to believe I would ever be able to affect change on a grand scale to move things toward my own agenda. But it doesn't stop me from trying. And it makes me an asshole. And, to date, I am fine with that.

I have often found little agreement with the Republican platform. I have had sincere respect for some of them, like McCain (who has since lost all respect). But I didn't agree with their agenda and often found their antics petty. Much of my awareness about that was around the time of the Clinton Impeachment trial. It was childish and absurd. I can see every side of this. He was an absolute ass. 100%. If I'd have been his wife, I would have kicked his ass and then left. But fortunately I wasn't. Lewinsky was grown. Had he been the first President we knew about to have had affairs while in the White House, it might have even warranted an investigation because of a possible misuse of power. But he was one in a very long line of noted Presidents who had done the same. The others were either celebrated or made jokes about. None were asked to have a complete distraction from their very important duties to defend themselves against charges which were only meant to distract and create chaos. It was an embarrassment to me as an American. Oh but I had little knowledge of what that meant. The Tea Party was coming so I guess that shit was meant to soften the blow? It didn't.

Through the Rove (Erm, Bush?) years I thought that the country was finally going to really make a severe turn to the left. Everyone would certainly agree that we had no business going into Iraq as retaliation to 9/11, right? Everyone would be pissed that our soldiers were being sent to a place they had no business going and losing their lives for a cause Bush's father had failed to complete, right? Everyone would see that he was absolutely incapable of not only leading our country, but of being remotely credible in diplomatic roles, right? Nope. Apparently they didn't. I wasn't jazzed about Kerry. I liked him fine but he was a Democrat. And no one could fucker up my country worse than it had been in the past 4 years. I was shocked when Bush won again. And then Katrina happened. Honestly?! And many Americans stood behind him. As if any piece of what we knew about his actions (and his ridiculous staff) were appropriate. It was startling.

During the primaries in 2007 I was behind Clinton for a minute because I knew who she was. I worked for her campaign for a bit. I took Audrey downtown to see her at a rally. In her presence, she seemed insincere. More than the normal amount one would expect from a politician. And more than I would want to support. I then started really following up on and becoming excited about Obama. His not-quite-funny jokes reminded me a lot of my dad. Like he was just one inch away from being hip. And that was totally fine with me. I, personally, don't want to have a beer with my President. I'd love for him to be much smarter than I am and as long as he can communicate in foreign circles and work toward peace where he was able, that was good for me. I believed him when he spoke. I believed in his passion about the same issues I was concerned about. I ended up working very hard for his campaign and have never felt more a part of something positive in my life than on election night in 2008. I snotty-face cried when he, Michelle, and the girls came out to cheers of, "Yes we did!" I thought my country was finally on its way toward a more beautiful community that we had waited way too long for.

Immediately we had to deal with a group of Republicans who were less moral than those we had become accustomed to. They called themselves the Tea Party and they were proud to have a single agenda: Blame everything on the black guy. He's black, you know? And we just can't have it. Their leadership met immediately upon his inauguration and agreed to make sure he was unable to accomplish anything. Anything. None of them gave a single thought about what that would do to our country. Or how they were letting down those constituents who had sent them to DC as a representative. Or about the oaths they had taken and we were paying them a healthy stipend to uphold. They just wanted to make a colossal mess of this President and his legacy.

Thankfully, he was re-elected in 2012, but many of the Tea Partiers had been re-elected, too. And more had jumped on board. There was finally a place where the racist morons who had lived on the outskirts of respected society could come together and get their hate on. And they could wrap it all up in their sincere and true love for Jesus Christ himself.

Yeah. So that is where I stand politically and culturally. Of course, I have a lot more opinions but I have dedicated all of my April A2Z Challenge to daily babblings of my varied stances on issues so there will be plenty of time to document Angie's ideal society then.

The fact that people can still shock me is amazing. And I think that is why I still have such a passionate and angry response most times. I still expect people to see things for what they are. I still expect people to want to stand up against the wrong thing. And I have a very sad piece inside of me (I know it is misplaced) that thinks if I give them enough information about whatever they believe then they can finally relent and come over to the left a bit.

It is arrogant. It is ridiculous. But that is where I am. I know how shitty it is to be so convinced of my own omniscience that it is my duty to make everyone else relent. They are just as sincere about their beliefs, right? I am not willing to work on it, though. So here I am. And my enlightenment might have to wait until next time. (wink)

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