Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'm a Little Bit Political...I'm a Little Bit Sexually Harrased

The final politically charged thing I wanted to say, as the dust of this election clears, is in response to something I read in another online journal. I don't want to call this person out, or start a fight, or anything like that, so I'm just going to paraphrase what they said and respond to it. In a pre-election-day journal entry, this person wrote that they cannot understand how someone would concievably cry about the outcome of the election, no matter who wound up as president. They went on to say that the rights we exercise daily, regardless of who wins, will be virtually the same after election day.

I'm not ashamed to say I did cry when I found out Bush had won a second term. It was out of frustration with the current administration, disappointment that the candidate I truly believed in had lost, and utter outrage that young voters (who could have decided this election) had yet again rendered my passion, my vote, and my voice useless because they refused to exercise theirs. I cried because I cared about this election that much, and I would rather be emotionally invested in the way this country runs and cry a little when I'm let down than let myself become apathetic. I think it's irresponsible to care only when politics directly touch my life--which, let's face it, is extremely rare.

Aside from that, I also wanted to say that while my right to choose is in jeopardy, I probably will not have to exercise that right any time soon. I'm not a queer person seeking legal marriage. I'm not a gun-owner, nor am I in the military, nor am I trying to put children through college. These are rights and privileges that this election called into question, and it's true that while I have strong convictions about them, they do not impact my daily life.

But, as someone who commutes on public transportation to New York City every day and spends eight hours in a tall building downtown, there is a fundamental right I have lost with Bush in office for another four years. My right to feel safe has been taken away from me. It has been made clear to us in the last week that if America continues to purse the aggressive kind of foreign "diplomacy" we are now involved in, tragedy will strike again. This administration has also made it clear that they are going to "stay the course" and pursue only actions that fall within this potentially deadly foreign policy.

With the outcome of this election, my right to step on the subway and think only about the Times crossword has been taken. My faith that I can get up, go to work, do my job, and come home safe has been replaced with a constant, nagging fear as I board the train every day that yeah, maybe today's the day. This is not hyperbole for the sake of political righteousness. It's truly something I cannot help but think of after reading paper every morning at the train station. I'm not so naive as to say that something couldn't have happened with Kerry as president. But, I am saying that the foriegn policy advocated by the Kerry-Edwards campaign was one that would have encouraged global cooperation over armed "freedom-spreading," the very action that prompts resentment, hatred, and violence towards the US.

On a totally different subject, my newspaper selling guy offered me a free paper today if I'd talk to him. I declined. After I turned down the paper and I was walking away, he asked me: "Are you a Republican Jew?" I mean, realistically, that's probably not what he said at all, but that's sure as hell what it sounded like. But back to the paper: I'm not one who normally turns down free stuff, or can really afford to at this point in my life. But, he was offering me the Daily News. Apparently, I'm not a New York Times. But, I guess I can take solace in the fact that, at least, I'm not a Post.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said ;-)

2:08 PM  
Blogger Michael Morrison said...

You said several things of import, but you also made some mistakes.
First, I really like the way you write. I do hope you are writing a lot and I do hope to see your work between covers.
Please, though, learn that "conceivably" is the correct spelling.
Second, you should not be ashamed to say you cried.
That you care passionately about what happens to the country is all to your credit.
You do, though, need to realize that, truly, there would not be much if any major difference if Kerry had won.
Between the two old parties and their respective candidates, we American people and voters will always be viewed as merely cannon fodder and sources of revenue.
Third, you're also right in bemoaning that other people should care as much as you and I do, that they should participate in the process.
However, they should first LEARN about the system, the process, and the respective parties, candidates and, most important, philosophies -- and they AND YOU need to learn not to settle for the two old parties and then try to decide which is a lesser evil.
A very important lesson to learn is that the lesser of two evils is still evil.
Next, your voice or vote was not useless just because others did not vote -- you made yours known, you exercised them.
And, in a way, they DID vote -- they voted None Of The Above, even if unintentionally.
By the way, my party has been urging for more than 30 years that None Of The Above actually be on the ballot.
You are right again when you say it is "irresponsible to care only when politics directly" touches one's life, although I think politics does always directly touch us (very rudely, too, and the kind of touch that is supposed to be and ought to be illegal).
Finally, one more disagreement: There really is no such thing as "a right to feel safe," although you are dead on that this administration will certainly not allow us to do so.
It will also not allow us to feel secure in our privacy -- and the recent passage -- with all the sorry Democrats and Republicans and Independent voting for it -- of the dishonestly called "emergency appropriations" bill and which contained the evil REAL ID bill is a major step toward complete tyranny.
Perhaps I am criticizing merely your choice of words, but "rights" is a topic in which I am heavily invested. And there ain't no such thing as a right to feel safe.
You do, though, have a right to your own life, to control and ownership of your own life, and when the government operates in such a way that it gets first share of your income, and acts in such a way that, if you're of a certain age, it has first claim on your time and on your actual physical self, then you are having your rights violated.
In that regard, neither Republican nor Democrat is to be trusted. Yes, your rights, your loss or lack thereof, will be the same with either of the old parties.
You write well.
Your story of your shopping trip excited me because you write well.
I hope I may be allowed to return here often.
I wish you the very best.

3:42 PM  

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