We were not a political family growing up. World affairs, elections of any kind, just weren’t discussed in our house. As a result, I always looked at the “politics” part of the 6 o’clock news as the boring stuff between the murder count in Philly & the weather when I was a kid.
I don’t remember which election it was, probably 1984 & we were discussing it in school, but I asked my mom who she would be voting for. I had no idea (and still don’t, really) where my parents stood politically. I remember my mom sitting in the living room saying “Who you vote for is a private thing”. Huh. That was good enough for me. Lots of things were like that in our house.
When I was a wee one, about 5 or so, one of my favorite things to do was watch my dad get ready for work. I’d hop up & down on my parents’ king sized bed, watching Mighty Mouse on channel 48 (another shout out to late 70s Philadelphia). Before my dad finished buttoning up his policeman’s shirt & attaching his clip-on tie, he’d slap on some Old Spice in a particular rhythm, never failing to lightly brush the sides of my face in a similar method.
“How old are you, Daddy?” I once asked.
“That’s none of your business, Barbara Lee”, he replied.
I was a little put out. I mean, he knew how old I was…I was just curious. I guess my little friends & I had been talking about it. It wasn’t until my mom turned 50 that I knew how old SHE was, and that’s only because my father planned a big surprise party. Because, well, it was none of my business. And the “none of your business” line was non-negotiable in our household.
Aside from the first Clinton election, when I was a freshman in college and could vote for the first time (CLINTON, FUCK YEAH! I CAN FUCKING VOTE! CLINTON! WOOOHOOOO!), I’ve kept my political views pretty much to myself. Even now, 20 years later, you won’t see me endorsing any candidate online or on my front lawn. So while my FB & Twitter timelines fill up with blasting/celebrating/boohooing regarding both major parties, I remain silent, mentally agreeing/disagreeing with things that I see.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore that my friends & people I follow are so vocal about their beliefs, even if I don’t agree. It’s their right. Just as it’s my right to keep mine to myself.
Party affiliation aside, here’s what I do believe:
- GLBT rights. Marry who you love. Everybody has the right to be in love, marry & receive benefits the same as a hetero couple. What happens between consenting adults is… none of my business. But human beings have the right to be happy.
- A woman’s right to choose to terminate an untimely pregnancy for whatever reason. Many of our mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers fought for this right. Many died or suffered serious medical consequences during “procedures” before this right was “granted”. Ain’t nobody’s business what happens in my uterus but mine.
- Universal health care. Affordable, accessible healthcare for all = healthier workers = better productivity. The pharmaceutical industry pillages lower & middle class families (and by families that includes individuals, because who has the right to declare what’s a legitimate “family”) who cannot afford medications that can a) save lives b) improve quality of life. A family shouldn’t have to decide whether they should pay their mortgage/rent or buy medications that are life-sustaining or life-improving. Personally, I fight this battle monthly with my anti-depressants & other mental health bills.
- Equal pay for equal work. No brainer as far as I can see. I don’t understand why it’s still an arguable point.
Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.
But child abusers/molesters/exploiters get dipped in honey & trapped in a tank of fire ants. Domestic violence offenders have to survive in a pool brimming with Man O’ Wars for an hour. Or two.
This may be the only semi-political post you ever see from me. As much as I celebrate your right to share your political affiliations & alignments (and believe me, I do), I celebrate my right to keep mine to myself. I believe in people, not platforms. In the individual, not corporations.
And I believe in coffee. And I believe I’ll go get another cup.