That’s which political party I actually belong to.
I hate election season because it’s a testament to the entitled, short-sighted, instant-gratification culture the USA seems to coddle. (And don’t try to pretend like the two rich political parties don’t play to the same crowd. They do. Different words.) How many “I grew up in a wooden shack and now own tons of businesses!” stories did the RNC share? Is that the only measure of success in this country anymore? Owning stuff? Being in charge? Power??
Why does it seem that everything but becoming a politician or being an entrepreneur or owning businesses deemed unacceptable or a waste of time? Isn’t the glory of the “American way” that we’re all allowed to be different? And pursue happiness in our unique ways?
Why do we have to shun collectiveness as weakness, when it’s just a cultural norm for so many? Especially considering we’re a country of so many different cultures. Wouldn’t it make sense that some of us are more collective than others?
I consider myself fiercely independent, but I see no contradiction that I also see myself as collective. I take accountability for my actions, but I want my overall purpose to be to enrich whichever community or communities I belong to. I don’t care to run or own my own business. What I do care to do is change people’s lives. I don’t need to build a business from the ground up to feel accomplished; what I need to do is research and present and share and have conversations. What I need to do is travel and learn from others within and beyond my hometown, my state, my region, my country.
And I want to give others the opportunity to change the world in their own unique and positive ways.
I don’t need to be rich. I want to, in the words of First Lady Michelle Obama, lead a rich life. And I want others to have that opportunity, too, without telling me that who I am and what I am is wrong according to their own personal philosophies.
My personal philosophy is and always has been multi-faceted. It’s “what’s best for me isn’t always best for you.” It’s putting myself in others’ shoes and leaving judgement at the door as much as possible. The bottom line is that I want to live in a world where humanity overcomes its lust for power and lives in a harmonious and appreciative manner.
It means accepting that no matter what I believe–and if I were a lawmaker, no matter what I decide–I cannot achieve perfection. It means compromising when it’s needed–but expecting that others will compromise and meet me halfway.
The polarization of the country makes me sick. What is it that we all truly want? Security? Happiness? Freedom to believe or not believe in a higher power? Freedom to live our own lives in mutually beneficial and respectful ways? And why can’t we find the words to express what we want without resorting to degrading one another, pretending that our neighbors are scum?
I believe that the greatest thing we can do is not to harm one another. Maybe I don’t agree with you, but if we can treat our differences as positives and understand how perhaps those differences complement one another, instead of acting like the Presidential Election is the Super Bowl–well, maybe we’d be on to something.
What I hate the most about putting these thoughts out there is that someone snide will take this viewpoint as weak, un-American, un-patriotic, sissy, feminine, without value or merit. They’ll attack me as a person and treat me like an object.
And you know what? I used to rely on the ad hoc attacks, too. It’s easy. It ignites people’s passions. But when the fate of communities across the country are at stake, it makes no sense to attack others. Speak eloquently about your issues. Acknowledge the validity of another viewpoint. Show others that you know your viewpoint’s not the only one. Explain why it is you feel the way you do.
And listeners? Respect the speaker. Respect the differences, as long as those differences do not take living, breathing people’s* lives.
We are human. We are not always bound by the laws of biology. We built societies, but we built them in our image: imperfect. But we are a species with so much potential. When will we stop warring with one another and learn to see each other for who we all are?
*For sake of argument, I’m talking about out-of-the-womb people. Abortion is one of those issues for which I wouldn’t seek one for myself (except in very grave circumstances, as determined by me), but an issue in which I know my views will not change actions. Do it safely clinically, by all means. But I want to see better sex education and better, loving values taught to children (“I know you may not be perfect,” instead of threatening to kick them out of they go against their promise ring, etc.). I want my children to be taught values of love and care, meaning they respect difference and embrace it.