If you are like me, you are so sick of all of this political bullshit because you care about it so much more than you want to. It’s vital to have some political awareness, but it also hurts, like getting a colonoscopy or going back to work after your vacation. As such, I will take a page from John Oliver’s book and reward you for reading this post with an adorable picture of a puppy and kitten who are best friends at the end. Oh, what the hell—you can just skip to the end now if you really want to.
I didn’t write anything about Orlando because I didn’t know what to say. Don’t know what to say. There are levels of hatred beyond words. I still can’t organize my thoughts enough to say something about my unwavering support of the LGBTQ community and Latino-Americans, shame in the victimization of Muslim, and anger that the right not to be murdered in a public place takes a backseat to the “Don’t Tread on Me” gun-toting mentality of fringe groups in the U.S.
These are a few recent experiences I’ve been processing in that context:
Someone I know (I’m keeping this all as anonymous as possible) admitted her LGBTQ son may be attending the Catholic University where I work (keeping it super vague because I’m not sure exactly how he identifies). And she is afraid. Many of the faculty and staff are open-minded and supportive, but some of the students are so conservative and unsympathetic. Perhaps that’s the way people have always been, but I’ve really experienced such a lack of sympathy for those in pain, those who are different, and those who aren’t well understood lately. There’s no room for sympathy where there’s hatred, which is what concerns me the most. And that kind of hatred leaves such a lasting impression on young people.
There was a wheelchair outside the women’s bathroom in the library, which was a bit strange, but I went inside anyway. Inside the bathroom was an older man just outside the handicapped stall, who immediately rushed to explain, “I’m just helping my wife, who’s in a wheelchair. I’ll wait outside.”
I said, “That’s okay—it doesn’t bother me.” But he left anyway, which was considerate but heartbreaking. I’m embarrassed that we are so shamed about acting appropriately for our gender that a man helping his wife in the bathroom feels like a criminal for doing so.
Men, how can you not be feminists when the patriarchy dictates what you should do and how you should behave too?
On another political note, since everyone in the world has a goddamn opinion about it, I may as well weigh in on the EU Referendum (I refuse to use the “Brexit” word because it’s stupid and sounds like a horrible type of cereal. John Oliver is with me on this one). I know the world wants the opinion of another Midwestern American.
I admittedly have a very selfish interest in seeing the British pound retain its value because the sale of my grandfather’s London house is finally supposed to go through in July. This is the only time I’m pissed about the dollar being strong compared to the pound.
What concerns me the most is the anti-immigrant platforms that have been so successful in the UK and the US. I did talk to one of my students about the EU Referendum, and how enraging and small-minded it is for the anti-immigrant mentality to persist. We are so interdependent—our economies, our political decisions, our lives. Like all empires (and don’t get me wrong, I include the US in this), a slight majority of the UK has had a convenient memory lapse about what it has taken from other countries and what immigrants have brought to the UK.
I’m avoiding reading all of those click-bait articles of reasons the EU Ref is a good sign for Trump because they make me panic. A man who has been like a grandfather to me went on a bit of a rant about Trump being a Democrat conspiracy to destroy the Republican Party (had to bite my tongue before responding “I think they’ve done fine on that without any outside help whatsoever”). He also asked if I thought the country was getting worse and, in spite of the bigoted and completely irrational groups on the rise, I don’t. Our systems are deeply flawed, but we live in a country that is more open, more diverse, and more creative than it ever has been. How can that possibly be a weakness?
Anyone else in the mood for a political tangent? Feel free to rant/despair/agree/disagree on this blog. Just remember there is a person on the other side of the screen.
As promised, here is the picture of adorable puppy and kitten BFFs.
Images in this post via Unsplash