We have this INSANE political climate right now where our the gerrymandering of congressional boundaries have created this situation where a lot of elections are not between the Republican and the Democrat anymore. The districts are already drawn to be solidly RED or BLUE so the only political battle is WHO IS THE MOST Republican or Democrat. This means Congressional Candidates have to aim for the most extreme in their party which is NOT where the majority of our country falls.
And I say that as Lefty McLiberal, one of the extremes that politicians would cater to if I lived in a Blue district. So if it bothers me as someone who would actually benefit from it if I was located elsewhere? Then it has GOT to bother all of my more moderate friends who will never EVER feel like they have a candidate with their voice.
But this extremism is also nurtured by these bizarre media and journalism trends where the EXTREME garners the most attention so every political battle seems to focus on the divisive which means politicians and commentators fuel those fires making everyone now feel like they suddenly MUST choose sides on EVERY issue, even if it’s not one they care about deep down inside.
And y’all? It’s driving me crazy already and we’re not even past the Primaries for the presidential election yet.
I don’t hide my political views. Everyone knows where I stand on every issue. What I do try to avoid is alienating people, but some days I feel like I’m the only one who wants to avoid it. My liberal friends are posting snarky editorials about how all Christians are homophobic racist rednecks and my conservative friends are posting how liberals are destroying their country and I’m sitting here wondering, “Do these people not care if they upset their friends or family on the other side? Do they not have friends or family on the other side? Am I the only one?”
I post a lot of political stuff on Facebook but I really think it out, consider my sources, my language, my intention, and then share it out but ONLY IF there’s a point. Most of the time it’s a well-written point of view that I think might help shed light on an issue to someone who might not necessarily agree with me. Lately it’s been a lot of religious writings about Gay Marriage. So – my point is HONESTLY to hopefully change the minds/hearts of some of my family or friends who may not agree with me. I don’t share out the super-liberal editorials that call people against Gay Marriage idiots, I don’t insult anyone who disagrees with me, and if I think the tone is alienating in any way, I don’t share it.
I don’t understand the point of posting memes that really only upset people who disagree with you. Do you not realize you have Facebook friends or family who do disagree with you? Do you not care to upset them? Because I know I have friends and family on Facebook who disagree with me, and if I really hope to change their mind on a subject (like Transgender rights) I’m going to only share things out that I really think will help shed light on the issue for them. And I try to use language that is informative, not chastising. I’m not entirely sure I hit the mark all the time, but I do try.
My heart breaks every time I see someone use the phrasing “he/she” in reference to Caitlyn Jenner. And I’ve spent weeks trying to formulate a good post about that issue. When she first was in the news I posted the Transgender Media Guide to maybe teach people who may not know that Caitlyn Jenner is NOT a drag queen or a crossdresser. But then the ESPYs happened and she really did make a powerful speech (I honestly know NOTHING about her personally) addressing issues close to my heart so I was really happy for her but again, I saw a lot of insulting rhetoric and language and I spent like three days trying to figure out how to address it. Then is what I ended up with.
And I’m still worried that maybe it’s a little harsh. A friend commented not knowing “he/she” was insulting and while she thanked me for enlightening her, I did worry that maybe I assumed everyone using “he/she” was doing it intentionally to disrespect the Transgender Community. I spent like 3 days trying to figure out how to address something in a way that would honestly change someone’s thoughts or language and then I spent all night worrying I was too harsh.
And then someone just posts a Meme with wounded soldiers that says something snarky like, “On our way to thank Bruce Jenner for being courageous!” and I just wonder why I bother trying to really change hearts and minds on important issues when 10 people on the BOTH sides of that same issue are just trying to mock people on the other side.
There’s a trans teen in their bedroom somewhere considering suicide and Caitlyn Jenner proudly standing on ESPN and talking about trans respect gives them HOPE for the first time in EVER and while you may not agree that is the most courageous thing in the word (and maybe I don’t either) there are kids out there who are finally seeing a bright future because of her. I really want to show people that, from those kids’ points of view, and I get so disheartened that people are still so dismissive of her.
Did ESPN give her that awards as a media stunt? Yes. Of course. But am I grateful she used the spotlight how she did? YES. (Once again, I know nothing about her as a person on TV or a driver or anything. She may be terrible. But she gave a good speech calling for respect for trans youth and I thank her for that.)
So, when I’m trying to write about or address political issues online, I really am trying to maybe show people another side. I’m not trying to just preach to the choir. I’m posting because I hope one person may be enlightened in some way. One person not sitting in my choir. One person sitting in the congregation somewhere who maybe has never considered how hard life is as a trans teen.
Alternatively, I’m pro choice, but I know that is not an issue I can really change minds on. No matter how many times I explain that that I prefer the term “reproductive rights” because abortion laws also jeopardize a lot of fertility treatment options, I’m not going to make my Catholic family members agree with me. So, I just don’t address it because I don’t want to alienate them. I LOVE THEM TOO MUCH. If my point is only to make my pro-choice friends say, “HELL YEAH! WOOO!” then why would I post it at the risk of alienating my pro-life friends and family?
(Although holy crap, The Fosters had an episode about abortion in season 2 that would be the kind of episode that might have actually changed hearts if any of my pro-life family saw it. I cried like a damn baby. One of the Moms had to deliver a baby at 20 weeks or risk dying and she did it an they never used the word “abortion” so I’m not even sure a pro-lifer might have realized what was happening but what happened to her would be illegal in some states.)
ANYWAY. If I’m sharing something controversial on Facebook I’m doing it because I think it could speak to people on the other side. Maybe change hearts, change minds. I don’t post things just to get people who already agree with me to shout, “HELL YEAH! AMEN! WOO!” And I most CERTAINLY don’t post things just to upset someone on the other side and I honestly look at Facebook every day and think that half of the people I’m friends with just want to upset people and HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THAT?
Sorry. I just had to vent. I’m super-sensitive and election season is really gearing up and I’m not sure I’m going to make it to November 2016 without needing a Xanax prescription.