December 22, 2004

an unfortunate divide

Something has changed in recent months. I thought so navely that the election itself, no matter who won, would mean a kind of healing of interpersonal rifts between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Not that Bush or his minions would do anything to help that process; on the contrary, it's been clear that they believe they only need to talk to their own kind and we liberals are Other and Bad. Evil, isn't that what Ann C0ulter calls us?

Anyway, I digress. Or maybe not. The point is, I thought that with the election behind us, we could go back to not talking about politics and pretending we didn't care, at least when we're around people who don't believe what we do. I thought that it wasn't personal, you know? But it is. And it's become only more so since November 2nd. It's so personal we're seriously looking into moving to Canada. So personal I feel gut-punched at the thought of what BushCo is doing to this country. So personal. I feel so strongly about all of this. I may not talk about it much in my blog, but that's because I read blogs that say it much better, not that I have no feelings on the subject. It's become a kind of low-level constant stress. I feel like Im waiting for things to get worse, knowing they will. Knowing I live in a country where the ruling class want to take away everything I believe is important and do it all in the name of patriotism.

I've always believed that you can be friends with people who live different lives, have different skin colors, have different values. That we can inform and enlighten each other, open each other's eyes and minds, maybe by tiny increments, but that it's very worthwhile. Also that people on the other side of the political fence can be and many are good people, with good hearts and minds. I hate prejudice against Republicans as much as I hate any other kind of prejudice. And yet.

We had a wonderful time over Thanksgiving at Tiny Coconut's house. A crucial part of it was the sense that we were among people who felt the way we do. Who understood the impetus to move, who took that seriously and were willing to not only hear it but talk about the things we all see going wrong and how it feels to be living in these times, to be a liberal under a hostile neo-conservative regime.

I imagine socializing with people who voted for Bush, who truly believe he's the right man for the job and that what he's doing is righteous, and I hesitate. I want to say yes, I want to say of course. But right now the wounds are too raw, my anger and pain and that of the people around me too, it's too fresh and harsh and difficult to be here right now as it is. Normally opposing views are good and even necessary, but right now they feel hostile. Sometimes, I think, you do have to close ranks. To be comforted and to comfort rather than opening yourself up to an argument you can't win in times that are so very scary.

Posted by Tamar at December 22, 2004 03:40 PM

It's so weird...other than my grandparents, I can't actually think of people that I interact with on a daily basis who did vote for Bush (and I live in a state that went red at the last minute!). I just keep wondering who all these people are who voted for him. I'm wondering how long my period of denial is going to last.

Posted by: Rachel at December 22, 2004 08:37 PM

I hope you will post more of your political views here. Two reasons.

You say that others say the same things, but better. That may be so, but your readers may not read those writers. They read you. You have an opportunity to educate, and we should try to use every chance we get.

Perhaps more importantly, you might feel better if you do. I think the more your politics are integrated into your life, rather than confined to a little zone marked "politics," the better you'll feel.

I'm not saying you should argue with idiots. There's little point in courting that kind of stress. (I'm in the "close ranks" camp when it comes to that.) But this is your forum to share your thoughts. Why not own it fully?

I hope you and your family are having a lovely holiday. I say bring on 2005 and good riddance to oh-four!

Posted by: laura at December 25, 2004 07:27 AM

Food for thought, Laura. You're probably right. It's hard for me but I think a good thing. It seems to be more and more in the forefront of my mind, I might as well write about it when I need to sort things out (or rant).

Rachel, I envy you your state of denial! I mostly see/saw Kerry bumperstickers and the like, but I live in an extremely liberal enclave within a fairly liberal city. Outside of town, B*sh stickers abound. And I do know some people who voted for him or, more puzzling, were on the fence.

Posted by: Tamar at December 26, 2004 06:49 PM