I have never considered myself political. When I turned 18 I joined the republican party because that was my Dad’s party and what did I know? I did not follow politics, at most I would listen to my Dad’s opinions about this or that. “John Kerry is a liar”, “Bush is not as stupid as they think”.. None of it meant anything to me though.
I rarely voted and if I did it was for whoever Dad said was best because what did I know? No one I dated was particularly political so no one was challenging anything I was hearing, until my last partner before Todd. I will call him N. N was from South America, he was a citizen but no one in his family was. I watched for years while he tried to help them gain citizenship, it was a process that started before we were together and did not finally happen until years after we had parted ways, for the record he and I had been together for 3 years. He opened my eyes to how other countries view our country, he opened my eyes to other ways of thinking, he was the first person to challenge my father’s ideals, he was the first person to turn on my own political light.
I still did not consider myself a political person but suddenly I was aware of things I hadn’t been and once you see certain things they are impossible to ignore.
I am not here to say what my Dad believed/believes in is wrong, I am just saying I realized it was/is not right for me.
The rest of this story can be summed up by saying I still do not consider myself political in terms of belonging to a certain party in America. There is a lot about our political system that I think is unbalanced and I do not support any specific side as a result. I am registered no party affiliation and vote on the left. Where I do consider myself political is that I understand now being informed matters, who we elect matters, the social justice issues of our country and the world will not be resolved without macro intervention and the political system is a macro system. I no longer turn a blind eye, I can’t.
This election cycle was the first time I had gotten excited about a candidate. I really like the Obamas but I was not politically tuned in when he was running the first time so I was not caught up in the momentum of his campaign. This year is the first time I have been really paying attention, this is the first time I am listening to the messages. I was Bernie all the way. I liked that he fell outside of the party lines, I liked that he could not be bought, I liked his platform in terms of addressing social justice issues and the reform he was outlining.
I would not say I am Bernie or Bust but I can say as much I am afraid of Trump I also do not trust Hillary. Now that Bernie appears to be out I have fallen back to feeling pretty cynical about our options, that is just me and I am allowed to feel that way. If I vote there is a strong possibility I will vote Green Party, I have only just started researching Dr. Jill Stein but at first glance she seems more in line with what feels right to me.
What is bothering me is now that Sanders appears to be out is that there is all this shaming of his supporters going on. This fear mongering of “If you don’t fall in line with Hillary it will be your fault when Trump is elected.” This approach rubs me all kinds of wrong, the pressure, the attempts at control and coercion.. I was reading one such attempt to shame Sanders supporters and in the comments saw something that resonated with me.. The summary of what it said was, this is a guilt trip meant to force people to abandon what they believe in and endorse criminals out of fear, “congrats you have created a religion”.
Personally the only chance I think we have at true change comes from free thinking. Again I am going to reference a Tool lyric, Maynard got it right with “Think for yourself, question authority.”
I do not believe in abandoning what feels right to you just because it is not popular. I do not believe in surrendering to bullies. I do not believe that a two party system is enough to encompass the varying beliefs of over 300 million people.
I may not agree with all of my father’s ideals now that I am more politically conscious but there is one thing he taught me that still rings true. At the end of the day you have to be okay with you. For my Dad this time around that means not voting with his party which I know is really hard for him. For me that means doing whatever feels right for me.