Hello and happy Monday to you all! I hope your weekend was a relaxing one and that you were able to start the work week out on the right foot. Mine started out fine, despite me not knowing that this week was going to be a busy one until I was already being handed the work. Oh well, one for in front of the other and we’ll all get through it fine!
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
// Desmond Tutu
I am going to warn you, as we inch closer and closer to November this blog may become more and more political. I promise to try my best not to get too pushy or preachy, more than trying to get you to pick my side—I hope you do—but mostly I just want you to pick a side. I want you to care about, and participate in, the future of this nation.
This election cycle is proving to be a very interesting one, and it feels more polarizing than either of the last two were. I think they are because of the results of the last two. I think a portion of each party is becoming more radicalized while the other moves to the center. I also think one party, in particular, is very bitter and endeavors to take this country back to some imagined time when they were the unquestioned privileged in the greatest country in the world.
I can’t help but feel that we are all on the verge of those people, who refuse to move into the future with the rest of us, turning the clock back on the right and respect that have been earned by women, minorities, and the LGBT community. We are on the verge of sliding backwards and making this country a hard place to live in for those of us who are a little different, again.
“The American people do not like neutrality. They would rather a man were on the wrong side than on neither.”
// Robert Green Ingersoll
Over the years, I have tried my best to lecture and nag my friends and family into exercising their right to vote. They hem and haw and make excuses as to why they choose not to. The don’t know about the candidates, they don’t know about the issues, they don’t want to get involved. It boggles my mind that people will know every stat and player of their favorite football teams, they’ll debate and even resort to threats and even violence over wins and losses, but choose silence and neutrality when it comes to the government of the United States of America. Like…what??
There is a belief that neutrality is somehow better than choosing a side, as if it is morally superior. When politics are brought up people get angry and people get hurt and so it must in order to avoid conflict or to avoid being wrong, we “stay out of it”. The thing is I don’t believe that anyone stays out of politics because they are trying to be nice, I think we are avoiding the work of learning about and becoming informed about the issues and because we don’t want to be responsible for the choices we make.
So let’s start over. I want you to know it is ok to choose a side. You don’t have to tell people that you have chosen a side, you don’t have to justify it, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. I do urge you to discuss the issues and the candidates with those around you, only talking about matters that affect us all publically shouldn’t be this hard, but it isn’t necessary to share your feelings. Keep your opinions to yourself if you want but please, form an opinion, an informed opinion preferably.
Choose with both your heart and mind. Learn the facts and imagine yourself in the shoes of people who are different from you before you decide. And never forget that it is always okay, encouraged even, for you to change your mind whenever new facts surface or your moral compass moves more north or south.
Do not take your voting rights for granted, and don’t leave the rest of us to the mercy of those who ‘s intentions might not be good but who take this responsibility very seriously.
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
// Dante Alighieri