NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. I used the context to “guess” when I actually wrote it so if anything about this publication date seems off to future me…I wanted this note here to explain possible errors.
I have a facebook acquaintance that lives in a big city on the West Coast and they often post memes or statuses related to how SICK they are of reading political posts on Facebook. “UGGG. By the time this election cycle is over I’m going to have unfollowed everyone I know on Facebook!” And hers are not the only status or tweet I’ve seen from people loudly professing their annoyance at so many people talking about politics.
It got me thinking recently about what makes some people feel like politics is urgent and others…not so much. Obviously lack of urgency is privilege. But then to complain often about that others feel the urgency? It blows my mind. It’s one thing to be annoyed, but it’s another to post about how annoyed you are when others obviously care very deeply.
Maybe you haven’t been denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, or if you haven’t found yourself paying the equivalent of a mortgage payment just for catastrophic coverage, or if you haven’t declared bankruptcy from medical bills…then I guess maybe you would not feel like elections and politics take such a huge priority in your life. But it kills me that your LACK of something to lose would make it so you scoffed at the people who DO have something to lose.
Or maybe you live in a socially liberal community where no one would fire anyone for being Transgender or where kids don’t get sent to Reparation Camps. Around here, it seems like everyone knows at least one family who tried to send their kid to a Pray The Gay Away camp, so we take LGBTQ rights very seriously and we worry about the lack of protections they have. Around here, politics are urgent because kids are dying from the mental health challenges faced when a community shuns you.
Or maybe you’ve never seen what happens to a family when a Father spends 2 years in jail simply because he won’t accept a plea bargain because he is innocent but he can’t afford bail. Or maybe you know a mother who borrowed money from everyone she knew and took out payday loans to pay a money bail for her teenager and now that teenager is doing even more illegal activity to get money to help the family get their head back above water again. If you haven’t seen some of the ways the money bail system has destroyed families, you may not be so concerned with electing judges who would change the way the courts handle it.
Or maybe you’ve never needed fertility treatments that would be jeopardized with anti-choice legislation. Or maybe you’ve never been in an abusive relationship and found yourself pregnant but not wanting to keep the baby for fear of your safety and the child’s safety. Or maybe you simply don’t worry that your daughter won’t have the same options for reproductive care that you had. If this is the case, maybe you don’t care about electing people who will fight for reproductive rights.
Or maybe you’ve never sat on hold for an entire day trying to get an appointment with a doctor that is covered by your VA benefits only to find that your only appointment option will make you miss a whole day of work because you have to drive out of state to get to the doctor you need to see. Or maybe you never lost a relative to PTSD when they died by suicided because there’s not enough money in the VA budget to provide efficient mental health care to all soldiers after returning home from deployment. All of these people cast votes for improvements in the VA system that is understaffed and inefficient creating unnecessary hassles for the people who served our country.
Or maybe you’ve never learned that only school system in your district that has the staff to help your child with their learning disabilities is being defunded and your child will no longer get the personal care they need. Or maybe your kid has never been part of the 85% of the kids in your school qualify for free lunches and so you’ve never tried to get the school to offer breakfast to these kids too. (For the record, both of my kids schools offer free breakfast and lunch to EVERY STUDENT because enough kids qualify. It’s a shame this is not the case everywhere.) Maybe you’re not worried about the school system at all because your kids go to private schools. Many people concern themselves with politics because they feel like their kids and our country are better off with legislature that fund schools over walls.
I get having privilege that makes you feel like nothing is on the line so you don’t have to be concerned with politics, but shaming people who care? People who want to phone bank or door knock and publicly support the people who they believe in? People who want to share information in hopes to educate others? People who want to remind people to vote? Why would you get mad at that? I mean, I can even see “unfollowing” people who annoy you, but surely you see the privilege of being able to do that, right? Surely you recognize that not being driven to publicly push your favorite candidate or platforms you believe in – is a gift?
I don’t know. I guess I get being annoyed by it, but I don’t get publicly announcing that you hate it because to me that’s like saying, “UGGG. I REALLY WISH PEOPLE WOULD QUIT USING WIC VOUCHERS AT THE GROCERY STORE. IT TAKES FOREVER.” I mean, yes, we all know they take forever. It’s really sad that system hasn’t updated in the 24 years since I was using WIC vouchers. But no one would publicly chastise people who use them because they know that they are lucky to not need them and they know they look like asshats for complaining.
But people don’t see to feel the same way when complaining about people posting about politics on Facebook. They don’t see the inherent message which is: UGG. YOU PEOPLE AND YOUR NEED TO ELECT PEOPLE THAT WILL HELP YOU AND PEOPLE YOU LOVE IN SOME WAY IS ANNOYING.