I Like Politics!

I'm a liberal Democrat.  I'm not happy about the way things are going tonight.  I'm amazed at the short memories of American voters.  But I still enjoy politics - I always have.  It might be because I never really had a prayer competing in athletics.  It might be because I'm an inherently contrary, adversarial person (I'm working on that, really) but I'd like to think it's because I care so much about specific issues like gay rights, Civil Rights in general, Affirmative Action, protection of the poor through welfare and the sick through healthcare, equality for all, care for the environment (ALL of creation!) and protection from the interests of corporations and the exceedingly wealthy.  I base it in Jesus' distinction between the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25).

But for most of my life, all the way through my undergraduate education, I was a vehement conservative Republican.  I wrote a column in my weekly college newspaper, called "You Know I'm Right."  As I've confessed before, at 13 I rollerbladed door-to-door (the most heterosexual of all transportation) with anti-gay marriage literature.  Even in 2002, after losing my dot-com job, I went to Salem to talk with the Oregon Republican Party about potential internships (to be honest, I had almost forgotten about that)... I used Scripture and Christian cultural agendas to support ALL of my Republican positions.

So people change.  Priorities change.  The spirit changes us, but so do relationships, and I'm a case-in-point  for choosing my friends over esoterics.


I was listening to John Boehner talk about tonight's victory: by his reasoning, when Obama won a landslide in '08 that apparently wasn't "the will of the people." Subsequently, the Republican minority in both houses filibustered habitually, chronically, even obsessively - rejecting the actual voting process utilized in House and Senate, and undermining the recent majority of votes by American citizens.  NOW, two years later, Boehner articulates his new majority as the REAL "will of the people." It makes me glad I'm not in politics - the subtleties are lost on me.


Still, there are a few takeaways that I'm optimistic about, after this election cycle:  
  • I'm pleased that in several local elections in Oregon, massive corporate spending was not able to "buy" elections.  
  • I'm cautiously optimistic about the number of female candidates in the Republican party.  Although they are not necessarily progressive on issues of women's equality or women's rights (many of them passive or entirely silent on these matters), I find it fascinating to see conservative Evangelicals supporting women like Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angle when their own churches wouldn't let them preach on a Sunday morning.  Now these candidates are socially problematic for a whole host of reasons, but I'm willing to applaud any sign of equalization - especially in the midst of an ultraconservative movement like the Tea Party.
  • NO MORE F***ING POLITICAL ADS!  Good Lord, let us have at least a few months of quiet before the ramp up to 2012.
You might disagree with my politics, and that's okay.  We can still be friends.  But I will always choose my friends over other interests - corporate interests, theological interests, financial interests... the people I love get my vote.  


I like politics because (A) politics are exciting and dramatic, and (B) because it gives me an opportunity to fight for the folks I love.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of my earliest memories (I'm an oldster) is being allowed to stay up late with my parents and watch the returns come in in the 1960 election. I'm sure I only made it up until 10 o'clock or something, but my memory is of sharing a bowl of popcorn with them in the middle of the night, the little black and white screen flickering before us. Election day is a sort of holiday for me still, and I always watch the returns until too late in the evening.

The hard part, as a lover of the political game, is to separate out the game from whatever difference last night may actually make. There's a part of me that experiences elections in exactly the way I experienced football games when I was in college -- somehow I convinced myself that the people on the other side of the field, kids just like me in every way, were the "bad guys" and beating them was important. I'm not saying nothing has changed because of yesterday's election, just that there's a layer of feeling in me that is about losing the game, and I need to work to get past that.

MarkP

Liz said...

Peter -

WOW - you nailed it! You perfectly described why I went from being a conservative republican to a liberal democrat:

"gay rights, Civil Rights in general, Affirmative Action, protection of the poor through welfare and the sick through healthcare, equality for all, care for the environment (ALL of creation!) and protection from the interests of corporations and the exceedingly wealthy"

And it was my personal journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ that led me to care so deeply about these things.

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