Thursday, November 15, 2012

On friends and politics

I feel like I constantly hear two sayings: "don't discuss religion and politics."  And "I don't want to lose friends over politics."

I don't agree with one and a half of those things.

Religion is something that I find others take deeply personally (so is politics, but not as ingrained as religion).  I have no delusions that anything I say will sway anyone from any faith that they have.  To be honest, how can you have a rational discussion about religion?  Religion isn't rational.  So unless I'm in a place and with people I know, religion is off the table for me.

And I will caveat the following with this: I am a horrible debater.  My mind works faster than my mouth and it usually takes me a long time to come up with words I think are good enough - I think part of my problem is that I want my words to convey exactly what I mean and it takes a good long while for me to come around to them, at least in a debate setting.  My medium is normally written word (duh blog, DUH).  Facebook is both a blessing and a curse, because I can debate without speaking out loud - I honestly feel that a lot of my "friends" had no idea how passionate I was about a lot of things, because I never spoke.  I feel like we live in these bubbles and for those of us who have a hard time talking, we're waving inside the bubble while others are talking loud enough to be heard by others.  It's a weird thing.

Anyway, discussing and losing friends over politics.  I exclude family in this, because well ... family is family.  My grandparents are racist but I don't love them any less because they are.  I also exclude work colleagues, because a job is a little more important than politics, at least to me.  Keeping food on the table is pretty important.

Most of the friends I care enough about to see IRL are friends who are similar in my mindset, so when we talk it's mostly discussing things through our similar lenses.  So this is primarily for Facebook, where my words are far more eloquent than when I speak out loud.  How can I describe Facebook? (Her hair is full of secrets).  I have so many "friends" from so many walks of life - ranging from primary school friends to high school friends to old work friends to convention friends to friends I've met through Danny.  I grew up in Arizona and it's a pretty even split between them all on conservative and liberal.  I don't post many things anymore - mostly just articles I find interesting and want to share; I bit during the second presidential debate and posted something about unwed mothers causing gun violence, because stupidity hurts.

So mainly my discussions come from me biting and posting on my friends' statuses lately.  If you post a status on Facebook, you have to expect commentary.  And if you can't back up what you posted, then it's your own damn fault.  If you don't want people who don't agree with you to not see it, you can block them from seeing it.  I have that expectation when I post anything and so I expect it of others.  Clearly, not all are like that.

My freshman year roommate is a Mormon, and surprise, voted for Romney.  She called the president a douche, and so I responded.  Her friends backed her up on it and she never replied, so I didn't either - I remember her being a sweet girl, and I wanted to "hear" the words from her, not from her friends.  A few days ago she posted another status about how the President should be impeached like Nixon over the mess in Benghazi.  I posted because A) factually incorrect, fucking christ and B)I don't believe that you can compare something like national security to a man trying to gain the upper hand of his political opponents through deceptive measures.  I don't feel that they are one in the same.  So I posted that and one of her inane friends chimed in with something racist - "the blacks, Mexicans, and Indians are taking our money."

She completely ignored his racism.  I called him out on it and then she deleted it.  He posted on her wall  that he "was on a roll" and she replied "I don't want to lose friends over politics."

Oh my dear.  You have lost me more for being someone entirely blind to racism than for politics.

Politics is such an overreaching term.  It touches everything from what pundits say to actual policy.  It bleeds over everything that we do, because we live in this nation.  I am teeter tottery on people who don't pay attention - I understand that this is a busy world, and that not everyone can be as plugged in as I can (though on the other hand if you talk about it, maybe you should try to educate yourself).  I understand that it can be easy to ignore someone's "politics" to have a friendship.

But racism affects politics and you can't ignore that.  Racism is real life.  It affects real people in real ways - harmful ways, ways that non-POC have to think about to understand. And I choose not to associate with racist people.  And for her not to call her friend out on his racism, to call it "politics," really makes me not want to be your "friend" anymore.

I can pick and choose my friends and I choose friends who are not racist.  Who care about people.  And I don't think that's wrong, and I don't think that's bad.  If I lose friends over it, then I guess they weren't really friends.

That was a long leadup to a really short conclusion.  Summary: please discuss politics and if you post you don't want to lose friends over politics, you're kind of ignorant and probably need better friends.

In still political news, how hilarious is the utter conservative breakdown on public media?  I started this post a day after the election, so it's been awhile, but man, it's still hilarious.  The motherfucking apocalypse is coming.  Hide yo kids.