I have been uncharacteristically politically toned down on Facebook waiting for the right time to inform others why a vote for Romney is a vote against their own interests. I wanted to delay my being hidden closer to poll time in case I could make a difference. Wow visions of grandeur even in my Facebook practice! I seriously need a reality check.
So why blog now? well four words in my own rhetoric "against their own interests" and the word "own" more specifically. This shift in thinking that could no longer be silenced - started when I noticed one of my gay friends checked he like Romney. I was confused, taken back and disappointed. The very thing conservatives accuse liberals of I was now immersed in- liberal elitist preaching. "Doesn't he know voting for Romney is a vote against himself? is there underlying self-hatred? what the hell?" Because clearly, I knew better what his "own interest" is or should be. I am only grateful I did not engage with this friend who I hold very dear- and kept my mouth in check while my mind grappled with my confusion.
Several days later I felt I came to somewhat of an epiphany- still slightly tainted with judgement but there was progress. I realized- that although Romney- practices a religion that is clearly anti-gay and does not support marriage equality (for 49 of the 50 states); this was not my friend's top priority. He and is partner are happy, they have a life quite frankly I often envy. They are successful, work hard, play hard and hell they have a better relationship than most married couples. They don't need a piece of paper to prove their commitment and love. I have yet to ask- why he would vote Romney- as honestly I am embarrassed I would presume all gay men and women would vote for Obama and he does not need to explain his vote to me.
So this brings me back to "against their own interests"- in the past women voted for misogynist politicians, why upset the home- my life is good. During the civil rights, some black Americans remained silent while others fought for equality. White poor voted were quick to protect the white rich rather than voting for racial equality. People who have been oppressed rarely have the leisure to risk it all and buck the system- so they had to protect their immediate interests. Could you really chance losing your job or ability to rent your home- if you stood up for principle? Do you protect your own child being fed even if it means your grandchild might suffer? Often in my own life- I have run from conflict on small matters fearful of the consequences. I understand why they made these choices.
However, I along with many of my friends sit in a relatively privileged position therefore it's easier for us to be idealistic while it is a luxury not all have. Yet sadly, some choose to look at only the issues that directly effect them. I don't have a uterus- so no fear of needing an abortion if raped- but I have a daughter. I am a teacher so I don't qualify for social security- yet most of my family does. I have good insurance- but many of my loved ones don't. My own interests for the most part are safe- yet I choose to think about others...
If not you should be- because I have been preaching- what I have been fed. I am not alone- we all have been focusing on the wrong issues.
Social Security, Health Care, Women's rights, and Gay Rights are very important but are they truly at stake? I mean outside of the extreme right- most republicans know social security can't be privatized- trusting spend happy people with their retirement will just leave a bunch of broke old people needing government support. Some people will never buy insurance and they are putting the burden on local hospitals and tax payers so unless we do as Ron Paul suggest, "let them die"- Republicans know Obama care fathered by Romney really can't be overturned. They also know they can't really stop abortion and they have to accept gay people are NOT turning straight or going away. .. both sides of the aisle agree on more of this more than we realize.
We are ignoring as a country key issues that need to be addressed. We think we are focusing on the real issues destroying our country but the smoke and mirrors have been successful in OZ- and like Dorthy- I want to go home now. So if you will forgive my self-righteous attitude will you help us as a country get there?
I have had some conversations with democrats or other politically aligned progressives who will criticize Obama in private because quite frankly we fear swaying voters towards Romney. There it is fear! Are democrats- essentially "against their own interests" remaining silent and fearful. Are we worried that any constructive criticism or demand that the real issues be addressed will potentially hand conservatives the vote?
Why aren't we asking- why more troops are deployed under Obama than Bush? why The Patriot Act was renewed? Why is the use of these drones is ok? why is torture not being punished and I thought Guantanamo was being closed? If you have not read, John Cusack's interview with Law Professor Jonathan Turley, you maybe surprised at many other questions we should be asking and demand they are addressed.
How can we have any of the other rights we have been battling out- if we compromise our own integrity at home and abroad. There is not one President who is above the law- nor is there one country who is. I fear all of us Republicans and Democrats have been voting "against our own interest" with a shortsighted vision. So who was I to point a finger at my friend, or anyone for that matter?!?
Obama has my vote still- I am not happy with all he has done but approve of a lot he has- yet after the election- it's not time to sit back - we have to keep speaking out, keep demanding change and find people locally who will listen and put them in office wealth doesn't trickle down so neither will change.
John Cusack's Interview with Jonathan Turley