I watched Hillary’s speech last night. I’ve been watching parts of the DNC to see my favorite speakers speak, and to also witness the historic milestone that’s happening for women in this country. You can think it’s not a big deal, but it is.
Image via Mashable
I almost forgot, while texting my friends during the speech, how important it was. I was sending out snarky comments and jokes about Morgan Freeman and the “fight song” and stuff. Then my friend goes, “Stop being so cynical – we’ve been waiting for this shit since we were little – a fucking woman president.”
It felt like when your mom calls you out, basically saying “stop being an asshole” – and you realize that you were being an asshole and feel ashamed and you’re like, “Sorrrrryyyy mooooommmmmmmm….”
Anyway, I snapped back into the moment. But what I realized later is that maybe I am more cynical then some of my peers when it comes to poltics. Today I was talking to a friend about Hillary, and she said “this is why I love and hate her.” And my feed is full of Bernie uber-fans that are mourning their loss right now – there is just a lot of emotion in the democratic party currently.
It made me think about how I’ve never had strong emotions for politicians like that (at least not for Democrats. I obviously have strong feelings of dislike and disgust for some Republican politicians – can you blame me, when they are trying to tell me who I should be and what to do with my body and sexuality all the time? And trying to make people in my country feel like second-class citizens?).
With Obama, I was smitten. But I was mostly emotional about the historical significance – once I got to grad school, I became more cynical and came to believe that all politicians, or people in large social institutions, are never perfect (what human is) and that they are a product of the larger machine. I stopped seeing them as people to get attached to, and more as facilitators of change, good or bad – I removed the emotions from it.
This wasn’t a hard thing for me – I have this thing with trusting adults, in general. It’s hard for me to do.
….I just realized I said “adults” which is hilarious, since I suppose I count as an adult at 27 years old. Ha.
What I mean is: people my parents’ age, and particularly those in a role of authority. So Anthony’s parents, my friends’ parents, all good – professors, bosses, boss’s bosses – I keep my distance. I just don’t trust them – I expect them to let me down. And a lot of them do. Because they’re human.
Don’t get me wrong – I get very emotional about politics in general. I’ve been known to take things to a weird place when we’re talking politics in a bar and talk unreasonably loud and look like I might cry at any second. I’ve cried in restaurant bathrooms about the fact that rape is a thing. I’ve cried in cars about how hard it must be for transgendered people. I’ve almost cried in class from being overwhelmed by my white guilt. I’m not trying to be like, “look how empathetic I am” – I’m just saying I’m not this stoic person when it comes to the news.
Bernie was saying everything that I dreamed a politician would say some day – and I never thought it would happen. He really surprised me and gave me hope – that a democratic socialist agenda could be widely embraced. It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t think he would make it to the nominee, so honestly I unhooked from it all. I voted for him in the primary, because if anything, I wanted the party to move more left. And I think that happened. It was amazing, watching his whole movement. But I never like, fell in love with the guy. Out of all the politicians, he would be the one I would get emotional over – but I just didn’t.
With Hillary, I don’t love her or hate her. I am for SURE going to cry my eyes out if she wins, seeing that insanely amazing historical event take place. But it’s not about her. As a person. She’s fine – I respect her. What I hear from some of my friends is “but I just don’t trust her!” And I think – “Of course I don’t trust her. Why is that even relevant?”
Does that make me weird?
I guess we should define trust… Like I expect her to do things I won’t agree with. Do I think she’ll tank the country? Of course not. I think it will be MUCH like the last 8 years. More of the same. Not ideal, but not bad. Just what I have come to expect, at a federal government level. I have hope for change in people’s minds and hearts and through socialization and person-to-person contact – those things then get fought for all the way up to the top – by people at the bottom.
I don’t know – I just beleive that there is no point in putting our trust in a politician – trust as in, “I know they won’t let me down, and if they did, I would be crushed and surprised”. I can find politicians that I will agree with most of the time – but if it turns out that they are secretly fucked up in some way, I’m not surprised. I feel this way about Cory Booker, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, etc. There is just no way I know their entire track record, or that something in the future won’t come up that I will disagree with them on. These are people I don’t know – why would I trust them to always make decisions that I agree with?
I feel the same way about people working in the legal system, people in other government roles, spiritual leaders – people in large social institutions. I won’t put all my chips behind an insititution, or someone representing an institution’s interest – because inevitably I feel that they will do something I don’t agree with. Institutions are slow to change. They aren’t on the cusp of new ideas and aren’t the first to embrace social justice movements – they move slowly, and try to uphold the status quo. That’s their whole thing.
One of my friends says that subscribing to a label – feminist, democrat, republican – clouds your judgement. It makes you follow that group blindly and not research the facts independently. I definitely post things on social media without an independent investigation on my part from sources that seem to me to be promoting the right ideas. Ideas I agree with. That is also not ideal. But I think it is important to embrace labels and movements like Feminist and Black Lives Matter, to promote change that needs to happen. That doesn’t mean I agree with every democrat or feminist, just because I apply those labels to myself. But I get what he’s saying. I don’t think that groups in this arena can be trusted blindly to never go astray from what I believe in.
You know who I do trust? My sister. Anthony. Friends who were there through my grad school idealist phase of realizing how fucked up the world is and who agreed and let me rant for hours and listened. I trust that whatever they are saying to people regarding politics, that they will say what I would say. And that’s an amazing thing. I know that if Anthony is in a room where someone says something racist, or homophobic, or sexist, that he will speak up (he is much braver than me when it comes to these confrontations) and that he will say what I would. I can’t believe it sometimes – it’s amazing.
I wish I felt that way about politicians.
What do you think? Do you think people like me are too cynical about politics, or maybe not cynical enough? Do you trust certain politicians? How do you define trust when it comes to politics?