I don’t have time for people who don’t have time to talk about politics.
I understand the need to give yourself a little space from what is happening in the country (and the world). I do it. Self-care is a new concept for me, and I’ll take a day off from the news here and there. It’s infuriating when the man presiding over our country doesn’t immediately condemn armed nazis marching in the streets.
I don’t take that much space, though. It’s a privilege. Taking a day off from reading or talking about what’s happening in our world is acknowledging that it doesn’t affect you in a direct way. It’s the people who aren’t directly affected who need to speak up the loudest. We need to address issues as they arise with family members and friends who voted for the destructive people who now are trying to push dangerous policies through at the highest levels of government.
I don’t have time for a man-bunned acquaintance at a house party saying “it’s pointless to talk about this stuff if we’re all on the same page.” I don’t have time for a family member who declares “talking about politics is off limits this Thanksgiving.” Being uncomfortable and learning about where we all stand is a small, vital step in the direction of harnessing actual change. Be productive with your conversations, listen, but also don’t take shit.
This is mostly a pep talk for myself, but maybe it’s helpful for you. Don’t let a racist or homophobic remark slip by without comment. Don’t let people dismiss you for speaking passionately about an issue that’s important to you. Don’t be enticed by the comfort of blissful ignorance. It’s easy to take a breather and have it turn into a full-fledged sleep while in the meantime, the world needs your voice. Your insight. Your hustle.
Bottom line: if something political comes up, talk about it. If things get heated, keep talking. And when you feel like you’ve hit a wall or don’t think the conversation is productive any longer: double check your voting registration, look up ways to be active in your community, and channel your fear and uncertainty into action. I haven’t been great at taking my own advice lately, but I’m working on it.
Anyway, here’s an email I just got from my dad who I would classify as a problematic liberal who likes his political discourse loud and in-your-face. The apple doesn’t fall far.