Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why I'm A Liberal - A Line in the Sand

I'm not sure why I'm opening this door, but here it goes. I promise, hand over my unbeating, undead heart - this will be the last political post/rant on my blog this electoral season.
Well, maybe I'll sneak in a few funny pictures here and there, but - fortunately for you, my dear reader - the main lead up to November 6th is also October. That means Dr. Z is preoccupied with Halloween, fall, and his unnatural love for all things spooky.
So, why am I writing this? I'm writing this because of many of my friends over on Facebook.
Here's the thing,I don't care if you're liberal or conservative. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. I don't care who you're voting for. Here's the honest truth... You're going to vote for Mitt Romney and no matter how much shit I post on Facebook -- you're not going to change your mind. So. I am done cluttering up my Facebook wall with political posts.
I can go on and on about what a fucking liar Mitt Romney is and how he will say or do anything to get elected. I can go on about how funny it is that his Mormonism - which was once like lava to the Christian conservative Republican base - is now somehow OK because I guess you waltz with who you brung to the dance. You're stuck with him. I get that.
But, here's the thing, and the thing that prompted me to write this blog post.
I am disturbed and saddened that I have friends (and family) who are Republicans and, in the course of making their beliefs known to the entire world on Facebook (whether I care to hear it or not), they are saying things that are shockingly racist and hateful.
Oh, sure... they're not out and out saying they don't like Obama or his supporters because he and they are black. But they make little snarky comments like, "Well, we all know who's voting for him! (wink, wink)" The only reason he's doing so well in the polls is because of the 'people on welfare and in the ghetto'" (wink, wink). "Obamacare is communism and Hussein Obumma did it to help all of 'those' people take my money!" (wink, wink)

They should be ashamed. I am ashamed for them.
Welcome to the dichotomy of Ohio. (For those who don't know, Ohio's big cities like Cleveland, Youngstown, and Columbus are predominantly Democrat, and the rest of Ohio is ridiculously Republican. Shockingly so.) The worst part about this veiled hate is that the people I see spewing it are otherwise intelligent, normal people. I wouldn't be friends with them if they weren't. Politics brings out the worst in people, I guess. And that's the tragedy of Facebook.
Anyway, I came to my realization about my the political posting a few months back during primary season when I compared Romney and Santorum's runs as precursors to a Christian theocracy. I was making a joke, and probably a not too funny one and I paired it with a clip of Monty Python's Flying Circus and made the very obvious and - admittedly - not very original comparison between their beliefs and the fact that NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.
The thing is, afterI posted it, I had someone (a family member actually, who I'm not at all close to) comment that she was shocked that I was a Liberal. It was like I'd said I enjoyed a little necrophilia now and again and was fond of upper decking people's toilets at parties. She asked why, and I composed a long diatribe why I was. The thing is, I decided to not post it for several reasons. First being, it was long and I think Facebook is not the medium for long explanations. Facebook should mostly be for laughing at the grammar and spelling skills of the less educated, and feeling inexpressible joy at watching high school classmates with no filters relate their entire trainwreck of a life on their wall. Also, I hate the inevitable conservative 'friends' who come on and want to inarticulately argue with me about how the 'Liberals are the Devil, Obama is a god-less Muslim Socialist, and Glenn Beck told me to say... derp derp derp!"
The thing is, I then have to fight the urge to either argue back against the moronic stream of idiocy they're spouting, or delete the entire thread because I've grown tired of how they've managed to fuck up what started out as a pretty goddamned funny post with their ridiculous agenda. (While simultaneously ignoring the fact that I posted my video because I had an agenda. Hypocrisy ROCKS!)
While I spent entirely too much of my otherwise valuable time working through this thought process, I decided against wading in. Instead, I liked a comment by another friend - who made a short, erudite point about religious nutjobs who think that the 1st amendment applies only to Christians - and walked away.
The problem then becomes, what do I do with what I wrote? Well the answer should be obvious... I'm going to post it over here where I get to be as long-winded as I want, and I can selectively delete comments. In other words, I'm a malevolent dictator (who's a LIBERAL) here.
So, why am I a Liberal?
Let me tell you.

I’m a liberal because I believe that we have a responsibility to help others in our society who can’t help themselves. America is not about saying "Fuck you I got mine, go get your own." And helping others shouldn't be solely because it's a tax deduction or because it's Christmas and I feel obligated to at my church. (I, truthfully, need to be better about this myself).

I believe that the rich are greedy and perpetuate their greed at the expense of others.

I believe that access to universal healthcare is a basic human right. So does Romney too. Or at least he did until it wasn't advantageous to his run for the presidency. And no, The Affordable Care Act is not socialized medicine. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, actually read the damned thing, and see that it HELPS everybody while simultaneously getting an out of control health insurance industry under control..

I believe that sex and marriage between two adults (no matter what sex they are, or how they choose to express themselves sexually) is between them and not something to be legislated or condoned by hypocritical conservatives who would have it otherwise.

I feel it is personally insulting to all of us when conservatives feel it’s ok to let banks, oil companies, and their rich buddies pay less taxes than everyone else (the word ‘exploitation’ comes to mind). It is this same cronyism that allowed mortgage companies to rape the poor and middle class and caused our current financial crisis.

I am a realist and understand that there are people who take advantage of the system. There are ALWAYS people who take advantage of the system. While there are those who are perfectly capable of working who are on welfare and food stamps, they are not the only ones taking advantage of the system. The other end of the spectrum, the ultra-rich like Romney, take advantage as well. Romney paid 14.1% in taxes last year. A family of 4 making $60,000 paid nearly 16%. How is that at all fair? Being a realist means admitting and understanding that there will always be those who take advantage. We should, however, do what we can to mitigate it and make sure there's fairness. That's the price of helping those who truly need it.

I am horrified that it's NOT OK to have a legislative agenda that penalizes or regulates the rich, but it’s totally OK to tell a woman she can’t have an abortion. And yes, I’m Pro-Choice. I, or nobody for that matter, has a right to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Your religious beliefs about life are just that. YOUR religious beliefs. They're not mine. You don't want abortions because your God or the Pope says so? Great. Don't have one. But don't tell me what I can or can't do because something I don't believe in says I can't. You realize how dumb that argument is, right?!?

I believe that the Tea Party and mainstream conservatives who have somehow taken over the Republican  Party are morally bankrupt, racist, misogynistic, and – despite their meeping otherwise – would make the US a malevolent theocracy if given half the chance. I believe that freedom of religion means freedom to practice other things besides Christianity and also means freedom FROM religion. I'm a godless atheist heathen. I chose to be that and our Constitution allows that. If I wanted to be a Wiccan, a Pagan, a Muslim, a Jew, or even a Satanist... I can be. I don't give a fuck if you don't like it. Welcome to America.

I believe religion is not the same as science, and attempts to teach religion bnext to or as an alternative to science are repugnant (that’s right, I’m looking at you creationism and intelligent design!). They're not even close. Science is fact; proven by rigorous testing, observation, and experimentation. Faith is none of that.

I believe that people are basically good and that there should be a safety net for everybody. I don't believe that the poor are poor because of choice, laziness, or because they've somehow willingly abbrogated their own sense of responsibility. We are, most of us, a missed paycheck or two away from homelessness and welfare. Because of that, when we are successful, we should all pay for those less fortunate- lest we find ourselves in the same position. 47%, 99%, whatever percent -- EVERY ONE of my friends on Facebook falls into this demographic. I don't know anybody who's in the 1% (except maybe Wil Wheaton - and we're just friends on Facebook. It's not like we've ever met.). According to Romney - he doesn't care about any of us and that we're all somehow sponging off the system. You get that, right?

I believe that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are sancrosact and should be upheld - regardless of political agenda. The first 10 amendments are all equally important and shouldn't be victims of politics, religious agendas, or pointless jingoism. That means the First allows you to burn flags, the Second means we can have guns, and so on. I depart from my fellow Liberals there. I think the 2nd amendment is just as important and "Shall not be infringed..." is pretty fucking clear. Why? I come from a family of law enforcement and hunters. I grew up with guns. Responsible, safe gun ownership is protected by tradition and the law. That and I'm preparing for the zombie apocalypse...

I believe that multiculturalism and respect for differences is the clearest sign of an enlightened society.

I believe that we have a duty and responsibility to move society forward. This means equal protection and respect for all, regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual proclivity or political ideology. If we need to make laws doing this - we should.Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be protected for all - regardless of how we feel about it morally or individually. 

I am a proud liberal. Conservatives may demonize us, and use the label ‘Liberal’ as an insult and pejorative… but I am proud of the label.
It means I care for others and respect others.

As I've gotten older, and when compared to the greater backdrop of my fight and victory over cancer, I've become very pragmatic about my life. I don't have the time, energy, or - truthfully - the patience to deal with hate and negative energy. And that's what I see happening on Facebook every few days. Although I've seen others do it, and I never really gave it too much thought, I think I too should consider culling some people from my Facebook friends list. The problem is that I do have Conservative friends who are cool and respectful. I will continue to have intelligent, lively, and fun discourses with them.
It's the respect thing. If you don't like Obama, fine. that's your choice. But if you choose to denigrate those who do like him (myself included), that's unacceptable.
But - fair warning - hate speak and insulting behavior will be dealt with brutally. I will pillage the town and salt the earth as I leave.
In other word; Fuck you and your hate.