I might be throwing caution into the wind with the following statement, however I feel it needs to be said: There are some political issues that should have stopped being political issues before they ever became political issues.
I acknowledge that as long as there is a government (which I do believe societies need governing), politics will forever transcend into all areas of our lives. However, here is where my frustration lies: The year is 2020 and yet somehow the human race is still divided on issues that relate to simple and basic human rights and the acceptance of science.
I get it, talking about politics can feel sticky and uncomfortable, whether you LOVE talking politics or fall under the, “I’d rather not” category.
I use to be an I’d rather not person. I always felt far removed from politics. I always felt as if they didn’t affect me. (For the record- typing that last sentence actually sent a shooting pain down my spine- how naïve could I be?)
I can wrap my head around the fact the humans are never going to agree on certain topics, humans are always going to be (passionately) opinionated, some more than others, and I fully understand the right to respectfully disagree with others about their political and religious views. I even support that sentiment– with one truly basic exception.
We can disagree on tax allocations, we can disagree on government involvement, on retirement plans, on government spending, on military funding, on styles of leadership, etc. But what I cannot agree to disagree on is stripping away (or never fully installing) basic human rights from (and to) people or acknowledging the existence of science.
Now, I am not a huge fan of the bipartisan system we have- however, it baffles me that there is a “side” that stands for human rights, science, affordable and accessible healthcare, climate change, abolishing racism, acceptance of identity and sexuality, etc., and a “side” that negates the topics just listed.
When students, friends, strangers, or family ask me what my top political stances are when it comes to voting, it saddens me that my number one answer is still human rights, social justice, and supporting science. You would *think* that that would be at the top of everyone’s list? Equality, or at least the pursuit for a more equitable system, one that allows humans the freedom to literally just be who they are regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender, religion, immigration status, family planning, etc. Is that really a big, liberal, ask? Freedom to simply be who you are? To acknowledge and support science? To allow people to make their own decisions in their own lives?
I could write a million words and never fully and accurately portray my thoughts and feelings around the topics I am about to discuss. However, I will do my best to outline the main topics that rummage around my mind on a semi-daily basis. Quite frankly these are the topics that make me question the goodness of humanity. “.
The short version? The separation of church and state, LGBTQI+, abortion & health care, immigration & race relations, climate change and science.
The long version? Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Separation of Church & State
I am a firm believer in the right to freely practice any religion of choice. I am also a firm believer in the separation of church and state, although I know it is tricky, I know it’s not easily separated. Many cling to religion for support, for answers, for morality, for direction. So if someones morals and values are interwover with their religion, of course they will vote in accordance with that. But in my perfect world, the individual would be able to decipher their personal beliefs from their religious beliefs, however, I know this is deeply connected for many.
However, if your religion is telling you that you have the right to tell some else how they should be living, that’s when I need you to take a serious faith check. Isn’t that the opposite of what “freedom of religion” stands for?
If we aren’t going to honor the separation of church and state, are we going to “ro-sham-bo” it, in order to decide which, of the 4,000+ religions of the world, we are going to infiltrate into our political system?
As I said, I fully support the freedom to express and practice any religion. But let us not lose sight that religion is a belief. It is a very, very personal belief that you have and belief. We are all entitled to our own beliefs, but that’s the thing- they are our own. It seems madness to try to thrust your religious beliefs on to someone else. If someone of the Hindu, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Satanist faith tried to force their beliefs into US policy, Christians would lose their *GD* minds, and yet here we are. We cannot and should not have political leaders who are trying to make decisions based off of their religious beliefs.
Religious folk- I truly want you to believe in whatever you want- but your belief is not the only belief. No one should be using their personal religion to enforce personal values on another human. Organized religion, in that sense, has started many wars- and if you wish to live in a society that governs based off of religion, feel free to move to a theocratic state.
2. Identity, Sexual Orientation, Gender, & LGBTQI+
Continuing the conversation of the separation (or lack there of) of church and state- let’s talk about the acceptance of peoples sexuality, gender, and identity. Okay. Deep breath.
It baffles me that the party that preaches the love of God and “all lives matter” is the exact party that aims to strip rights away from people who are different from them and discriminates based on the reasons previously discussed above. This is the party that votes for policy that aims to take back the rights from other humans.
Your God says marriage should be between a man and a woman? Ok- if you are a man, and that is what YOU believe, marry a woman! If you are a woman, and that is what YOU believe, marry a man. That is YOUR belief. Let’s dissect that.
If you live your life by the word of God, remember that that is YOUR God, not everyone elses. Also, I offer my condolences to a life in which your God has enough hate in their heart that they have the energy to monitor who we should and should not love. Yikes.
Your God tells you that you can only be straight, and/or your gender can only be that of a man or woman, which is determined by your genetalia? Ok if that is your belief, then YAY you get to continue to follow his word, you can “choose” to be straight and you can identify with the sex that was “designated” to you at birth. Why the hell would you care what someone else is doing in their life? Has it crossed your mind that you are doing more harm to their lifestyle than they could ever do to yours? Again, yikes.
If your God tells you to live this way- to judge someone based off of who they love, who they are, who they identify as- that is your business and your business only. But you do not get to force YOUR beliefs on to someone else and how they live their life. I recommend that you start worrying a little bit more about the judgement in your heart and less about the lifestyle of someone else.
3. Abortion, Women’s Health, Public Health
Yahoo, here we go- religion talk of course brings me to abortion. If you are anti-choice, ok I can support that- for you. If you get pregnant, no matter the circumstances of how that happened, and you believe women should never have abortions, then that is your choice to not have an abortion. You believe that is the right thing? Good, for you.
But may I ask what gives you the right to tell someone else, who might not at all believe in your God, to tell them what to do with their health, their life, their body?
In addition, it might be important to mention that the Democratic Party supports and writes more legislation that supports women’s health and family planning than your conservative “side” does. They write policy that aims to make abortion unnecessary, which ultimately lowers abortion rates. They are the party that understands making abortion illegal does not stop abortions from happening- it stops safe abortions from happening.
A women’s choice to have an abortion has to be one of the most difficult decisions, and I cannot imagine that decision is made lightly. No one *wants* an abortion. No one get’s pregnant and thinks, “Yay- I can’t wait to have an abortion!” I don’t think there is a person on this earth that believes abortions are “good”. (I once heard a conservative talking about how liberals promote and celebrate abortion– Ma’am I am not sure where you are getting your ridiculous news, but maybe find a new source).
I could go on and on about the health factors that might affect a women’s choice to have an abortion, but the bottom line is that it is not and never will be my place to tell someone else what to do with their life, their health, their body, their family.
And if every life matters, if every life counts from the moment it was conceived- you must be up in arms about the systemic racism in our country that leads to thousands of wrongful deaths to people of color?! You must really want stricter gun laws, better access to health care, better access to mental health facilities?! You must want better funded schools and credible sex education, you must fully support paid maternity leave, and affordable housing?! If you’re “pro life”- you must be chomping at the bit to make sure ALL lives matter, such as trans lives, Black lives, Brown lives, LGBTQI+ lives, school children’s lives (cough* gun control).
Access to proper health care is a must, a necessity. We look at countries that don’t provide adequate health care to their citizens and we think of them as impoverished, and yet- ours is quite inaccessible to the average American.
4. Immigration & Race Relations
I don’t *know* how racism has become bipartisan, but here we are. I want to acknowledge that racism and discrimination runs deep, it is not a Black and White issue, it embodies all colors, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. However, it is a highly incommensurable issue that white people perpetuate.
I almost want to say that I am not sure how, “Black Lives Matter” has become a divisive statement. But I will not be guileless- our country houses many racists. However, it’s the reasoning behind those who claim, “All Lives Matter” that bewilders me. Black men are being disproportionately incarcerated and killed on a DAILY basis, but you still want to be seen and heard on the side of, “All Lives Matter”? To deny racism or white privilege exists in our country, is to deny how this country was built. If you are properly educated on the foundation of how this country expanded, you cannot deny that racism lives in its veins and appropriation drove our aggrandizement. As a public school educator, I am deeply sorry that your school system failed you. I will not fail my students.
However, I do not understand how in 2020- we have a US president that will not condemn white supremacy and insists on calling non-citizens “illegal aliens”. He, of course, isn’t the first president to do so, but in my dream world- he will be our last.
There is so much to be said in regards to the steps needed in order to progress into a more equal, equitable, and fair country. I would need an 800 page doctrine to properly outline such course of action. I don’t know that our world will ever see a time that the human race doesn’t perpetuate racist ideals. However, instead of just dreaming about the simple idea of treating all races equal, acknowledging white privilege, allowing better access into our country (especially for those seeking asylum), and properly paying due diligence to the Native American’s in which we (brutally) seized land from in the first place- I can use that day dream to drive my vote in support of a party that believes and acts upon those same *basic* values of rectifying human life.
But damn, as a white person myself, how do white people have such impudence?
5. Climate Change.
This can be short and sweet, because I have a little less human emotion attached to this particular topic. Although I have deep passionate emotions about protecting our planet and discussing the “why” behind believing in climate change, some people are still stuck on the “what” or the fact that it exists at all. Also, I don’t know how to put this lightly, so here it goes.
Hey guys, climate change? Yea, you have heard of it? Well, guess what- it’s real! It’s scientifically backed, processed, recorded, analyzed, etc. No, humans aren’t the primary cause, but we are now the primary source! We have sped up a natural process to such a rate that will be fatal, to our lands, our oceans, our planet, and ultimately us.
I don’t have any artistic word choice to spell this out more plainly. If you don’t “believe” in climate change- something that is heavily calculated, recorded, and reported, I question your ability to use deductive reasoning immensely. I also do not mean that as an insult, but instead I say that with a smidge of pity in my heart- again, I am sorry about your lack of education surrounding not only the sciences, but general analysis. If you can properly read graphs and understand basic pictures and numbers- you can acknowledge the existence of climate change. Yet, somehow it’s a debate.
Which leads me to…
6. Science (Just in General)
Ah, a word that is tossed around heavily among the human species. It is my belief that, as humans, we are naturally very curious about the way things works and why they work the way they work. Science, to it’s most basic degree, is the systematic study of the structure and behavior of our natural world. It’s highly observable and from it we can deduce fact. And yet, the existence of science, or the need to disregard it completely, has somehow become political- another bipartisan issue, that globally is NOT a bipartisan issue. Most developed countries not only *believe* in science, but fully support and fund it, knowing that it is science that pushes our society to improve it’s understanding of the natural world. It is science that gives us answers to human health, to the mysteries of earths surface, to develop new technologies, and cure or alter disease.
Yes, science changes and with it opinions, fact, and procedures change- but that should not negate the validation that science should possess. There is a reason that science is NOT classified as a religion, it isn’t something someone made up.
Ah, a sigh of relief- the ending is near.
If you made it this far, you are either feeling heard and seen, or you might possibly want to pick a fight with me. Either one is okay- you are allowed to experience whatever emotions are currently heightened within you. If you would like to continue discussion, please feel free to comment below or reach out via email or social media. I don’t and won’t ever have all the answers, but I am very open to discussion.
I hope more than anything that wherever your political views lie, this post opened your eyes to the very real possibility that many of the divisive “political issues” we see have a whole lot less to do with politics, and a whole lot more to do with whether or not you are a decent, aware, and educated human being.
*cover photo by @blessthemessy
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