There’s a weird thing going on in my life. Maybe in yours too, if you are surrounded by liberal and conservative voices. If I silence all of the conservative voices in my life, I hear nothing but proclamations of anxiety and action the sharing of news and voices of resistsance. But when I expand my blinders to the conservative voices in my life, I hear words shaming me and others for being negative, or for talking too much politics, or for starting fights, or for dividing our country. There’s definitely a section of people doing neither, but the dichotomy of the two political factions is startling as it’s very real and so very extreme. I don’t remember ever telling my conservative friends to stop talking politics or stop being divisive. I did try to remind them about the value of action and the balance of power (a balance of power that doesn’t exist presently) so as to help calm their anxieties, but I don’t think I ever shamed them for being concerned or worried.
Of course, I also have a very hard time comparing conservative behavior after Obama to liberal behavior after Trump as – to me – Trump and Obama are not the same levels of extreme on their end of politics. So I do feel like my side has a lot more to be worried about, even without considering the lack of a power balance. BUT THERE IS NO POWER BALANCE, so I feel like it should be obvious why my side is stressed.
But it’s just weird to be sleepless thinking about the moves this administration has already made, and then wake up and see people on the other side of the spectrum shaming me for being sleepless and concerned. It’s strange to be so worried and to be driven to such levels of political action, and to have people in my life basically saying, “Ugg…stop whining…get over it already.”
My liberal friends are with me. We’re all sleepless and concerned and texting each other in the middle of the day: “OMG. DID YOU SEE?” But my conservative friends and family seem to think I’m being ridiculous. And that is a terrible feeling, to be so overwhelmed and distraught by a situation that you – LITERALLY – can not sleep. Then you look over your shoulder to see people rolling their eyes at you.
I offered an internet friend my phone number yesterday. We’ve been friends for years, met once at an event in New York, but we don’t have each other’s numbers. Until now. Because she expressed concern about political anxiety and I told her how having a text friend helps me. I kinda want to check in with you guys to see if we should all become text friends. Is that weird? Or creepy? I’m wondering if some of you are feeling lost and scared too…maybe your red friends are shaming you too.
This dichotomy does more than make feel shame over my concern. I find it’s also making me doubt myself. How can two people look at the world so differently? How can that person so obviously not be concerned and here I am – SLEEPLESS – over my fears. It’s like the time I stumbled into the world of Devout Birthers or Sandy Hook Truthers or 9-11 Deniers…these are all people that exist and believe VERY STRONGLY in something that I find categorically FALSE. How can people create such cognitive dissonance in their lives? How can I be sure I’m not doing the same thing?
But I’m terrified, y’all. I woke up at 2am to work on a newsletter for a local progressive organization I’m trying to lift off the ground. Because at least that had me doing SOMETHING. I’m trying to print postcards to mail and I added phone numbers to my contact list so I can easily call Senators and Representatives. I’m having trouble focusing on anything else when my mind is not distracted by family or work. Every other moment I’m thinking about our country and what I can do to stop the administration from jeopardizing our future.
And then another person is all: “UGG. GET OVER IT. STOP RUINING FACEBOOK.”
It’s just such and extreme contrast and it has me all distorted and full of self-doubt on top of the fear and concern. I’m frazzled and wondering how people can see the world so differently.
I wrote another post about racism last night. In it I shared a bunch of links from yesterday, but I’d like to share out some other political links I posted all over the interwebs yesterday. I am full of self-doubt from the shame others are trying to make me feel, but I will not let that stop me from spreading the word about things we need to be resisting.
- Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote
- On http://WhiteHouse.gov , Trump claims killings in DC up 50%, but in fact they’re down 17% – Link has sources
- A study into the effects of the Global Gag Rules from the Guttmacher Institute.
- “The Enlightenment must never bow to the Inquisition.“
- Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour Is Under Attack on Social Media #IMarchWithLinda
- Medicaid Block Grant Would Slash Federal Funding, Shift Costs to States, and Leave Millions More Uninsured
- 10 Action in 100 Days