Copyright 2016 by Trish Causey.
On Facebook, my friends and I were commenting on a picture I had posted of a sign-waving evangelical spouting gloom and doom for those of us who are freethinkers; then we were conversing about a photo of Hillary Clinton. As the conversation unfolded onto other topics, one person commented that he does not choose his friends based on politics. This gave me a moment’s pause.
While I would like to think that I would judge a person on his or her integrity and character, the truth is that a person’s political stance matters a great deal to me. No longer is politics about who can balance the national budget or who can create more jobs. American politics has devolved into a cesspool of dirty, backroom bribes, outright obstructionism, and blatant favoritism amongst politicians that caters to the personal ideologies of campaign donors and back-home, good ol’ boy politics. This is also true for our country’s governmental agencies — particularly the ones that oversee Big Pharma and our food supply, which are also prone to creating policy based on the lure of lobbyist dollars.
Politics is an important area of one’s values, particularly since the rise of the Tea Party. These Republican politicians, affectionately called “The Tealiban” by everyone not in the GOP, bring their personal religious beliefs into the legislative arena in spite of the First Amendment and deny the human rights of women and LGBT, enacting laws that affect all of us, not just their backwater congregation.
If someone tells me they are a Conservative Republican, I can pretty much bet they have strong feelings against non-Christians, LGBT, immigrants, gun reform, and funding the arts, to name a few. However, I do not assume what their positions on these topics might be. I ask. If they prove themselves to be a “typical” RWNJ (right-wing nut-job) whose political views are based on fake-Christian evangelicalism and a distorted interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, I usually decide being their friend is not something I want. Not always, but usually. *** Note: As a Mississippian, if I shunned all of the Republicans I know and disagree with on basic issues, I would have to disown most of my family. ***
I am nearly the only Democrat in my family, in fact. Since running for Congress in 2014, I have come to know a great many Democrats in Mississippi and elsewhere. Turns out, Democrats in the South are as varied as the evening sunsets along the beach. No one label perfectly fits all of us Southern Democrats, as the “blue nation” ranges from the yellow-dog Democrat to the conservative Democrat — which is really a Diet Republican, and the DINOs, who are right-wingers that somehow infiltrated the left-wing ranks.
I have learned to inquire about a self-professed Democrat’s leanings on core issues within the party’s platform as well as their general take on life, equality, and justice. Most of the time, the conversation goes as expected, with the Democrat clearly able to define the rights issues we still face as a country. However, on more than one occasion, a Democrat who shares my ideology on human rights turns out to be real asshole as a person. Not just a disagreeable person, but someone with whom I have no desire to be around or get to know further. I do not care if said person is a blue-nation, yellow-dog, red-blooded American Democrat with their anti-GOP Facebook posts and Lefty McLeftist bumper stickers on their car. I have unfriended and unfollowed many Democrats in the past six months due to the increasingly vicious political attacks within the Democratic Party this campaign season.
Democratic Party in-fighting aside, the biggest threat to our political system right now is the upswing of religiosity in our governmental process. I cannot be friends with someone who relishes a fascist theocracy with elitist hegemony. For years, I intensely studied the Salem Witch Trials for one of my original musical works, Witchcraze, and trust me when I say, mixing religion and government is never good for the people who do not goose-step in line with the religious dogma portion of government.
I greatly appreciate people who can separate their personal feelings from the governmental process that directly affects all of us. For instance, I despise guns. I would love to see every gun in the world melted down and turned into artistic sculptures. Would I love to see the Second Amendment repealed? Absolutely. Hell, I will even compromise and let everyone go back to fighting with swords. Open carry your five-foot Scottish claymore to Target all you want, big boy. (Most ammosexuals are too out of shape to wield a sword to be a danger to anyone but themselves.) Does this mean I will actually try to get the Second Amendment overturned? No. But I will work on gun law reform.
If a conservative Republican is against abortion personally but understands that a woman has the basic right to have an abortion, that is amazing. We can definitely be friends. If a conservative Republican is straight and doesn’t like homosexuality personally but does not attempt to deny LGBT the right to marry or adopt or own a home together — and does not block a trans person from going to the bathroom of their choice, then we can definitely get along. Conversely, if a Democrat claims to support LGBT, then mocks me because I’m bisexual and, in their eyes, not a “real” LG-T person but only tolerated because including bisexuals increases the number of activists within the LG-T movement, I have no time for that person. At all. And any so-called Democrat who tries to pass legislation to limit women’s access to birth control and/or abortion needs to be impeached from office immediately.
Labels are bogus. I have to get to know the person, not judge them by the forced-choice team they claim to support.
I can agree to disagree. I appreciate a good, heated, but respectful, debate. But I am at a point in my life that stress and strife are not elements I will tolerate in any relationship, certainly not in real life and definitely not on social media. I try to make very conscious choices regarding the people I allow into my life and how they will affect my mojo.
When the time comes that American politics no longer includes religion and other unconstitutional elements, then a person’s politics will not matter to me.