Warning: This is one of those word vomit posts. It may or may not make sense. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
Tuesday night I realized something huge. I realized just how much this year’s election actually meant to me. To be honest, I spent most of the election season cycling between apathy and hostility and maybe even a little but of exhaustion. In fact, I’ve spent most of the last 8 years feeling political apathy. Pretty much from the minute it was determined that Bush was reelected. I blew off voting all together in 2008. I live in Chicago; democrats rule Chicago. Democrats rule Chicago so hard they can be elected to office after being ousted from their previous office and indicted for crime or be reelected despite being in medical leave for 4 month prior to the election. Basically, I didn’t vote because my vote just seemed unnecessary. This year I planned to vote mostly so I could vote against a state amendment that would fuck with the pension system of public servants. I’m not okay with the state fixing their mistakes by screwing teachers and cops and firefighters.
The minute I stepped into the voter’s box, that all changed. I felt like I had to draw that little line which would cast my vote for Obama. It was no longer just a right I had; it suddenly felt like it was my responsibility in a way it never has before. Like every good liberal feminist, I was pretty politically active in college. I even volunteered for the campaign of the local green party candidate for state representative, but even in 2004, I didn’t feel the compulsion to vote quite like I did on Tuesday evening. It was a strange emotion.
But those feelings got me thinking about politics and the way we handle, or don’t handle, talking about them. Why are politics something we don’t talk about? Because they’re something we feel passionately about? Because they’re something personal? Because they’re something we don’t agree on them? Because people can’t seem to have intelligent and rational conversations about them? Maybe the reason we don’t talk about politics is because we don’t talk about them. We spend so much time not talking about politics; we’ve forgotten how to talk about politics in a way that’s intelligent, rational, and respectful. Maybe if we started talking about them we’d find a way to talk about them without hating our family and friends. Maybe we wouldn’t have to block and unfriend people on Facebook. Maybe we’d even find ways to compromise on our beliefs. Maybe I’m just naïve and nothing would change…(okay we’d probably still have to block people on Facebook because Facebook is a whole different animal.)
I think the time has come that we need to start having these conversations. I don’t have all the answers (or even any answers at all), but I do feel like this might be the year I stop shying away from politics.