I try not to get too political online for multiple reasons, but for months now I have felt a shift coming.
I always want to make sure I am listening to all sides of any argument. I believe that terrorism is born from feelings of oppression, and that the solution is not to shoot down the terrorists but to stop the oppression. However, in some cases this oppression is an illusion. What is feared is challenge to the status quo, challenge to what certain groups of people have been taught to believe is their entitlement (even at the expense of others, whether they realize this or not). Again, the solution is not to shoot these people down, it’s to shatter this illusion.
Right now we are facing many major disagreements as a nation. I see multiple sides calling the other sides wrong, and truly believing this. It is so hard to make others see your truth when they are so determined to make you see theirs. I used to think that everything could be true depending on your perspective, and while perspective does influence personal reality, it does not mean that, societally, this reality is just as correct as the one we collectively share.
I don’t want to ignore or rebuke someone’s beliefs, especially since these beliefs are what may be causing such hatred within and violence without. I do want to address them: What are the people I disagree with actually feeling? Why do they feel this way? How can I explain to them that they don’t have to feel this way, if only they shifted their perspective? That way, hopefully, no one would need to resort to violence. But then, I may not be able to convince them after all, just as they will not be able to convince me. We may just keep clashing until eventually someone gets hurt.
Opinions are valid to the extent that the person possessing them has a right to have an opinion. That doesn’t mean this opinion, or even the belief upon which it stands, is valid within the larger societal sphere. As a species, there are certain biological necessities for survival, but as a people there are other more intricate moral necessities that allow us to not only exist but to evolve culturally. These are what all people need to be aware of, to discuss, and to implement.
I want to be someone who listens to all sides, and who tries to understand, but I am realizing that ths is not enough. Listening and understanding are useless if I am not then applying this knowledge to help people, to take a stand and be able to defend it. I’m not going to stop listening, but I am going to start speaking up.
I always prefer to promote what I believe in rather than oppose what I disagree with – feeding the positive rather than dwelling in the negative. But you need both to have balance, and I am starting to understand that when it comes to politics. So from now on, I am going to do both, starting with this:
I oppose racism.
I oppose violence.
I support gender equality.
I support creative expression.
I oppose persecution.
I oppose the exploitation of people for financial gain.
I support the rights of people of color.
I support the rights of trans people.
I support the wellbeing of immigrants and refugees.
I support the protection of wildlife and wilderness spaces.
This is not a final statement, it is only the beginning. If you oppose something I support or support something I oppose, let’s talk – explain it to me. If you think I am being hypocritical at any time, let’s talk – show me. I’m open. I try to be as open as I can, so I’m no longer going to keep my mouth shut.
I am a woman, a United States citizen of Mexican, Native American, and European descent. I am a pagan. I am an artist. I am human. I love the United States for its many cultures, its art and literature, its colorful cities, and its beautiful land. But my loyalty to this country as a country is NOT as important as my loyalty to actual people, actual animals, and the actual world.