2013 me sounds alarmingly like 2017 me. While 2013 Dani is slightly less broken than 2017 Dani, the political things she writes about haven’t changed.
Re-reading old work is always an interesting experience, especially political pieces, which are so intrinsically tied with current affairs. While the actual, real-life inspiration for these pieces may have changed, my sentiment and opinions really have not, nor has the overall theme behind each one. The post below has been unaltered. Like I said, it was written in 2013, so some of the references are undoubtedly dated, but I decided to post it in its original form, so that we can compare and contrast.
“Opinions are like asses. Everybody’s got ’em, and they all smell.” This is a quote from my favorite teacher of my entire academic career. He busted it out frequently. Pretty much whenever somebody argued with him. Clearly, since I had him in the eighth grade, this quote stayed with me.
We are a nation of opinions. Everybody’s got some (even if they won’t admit it), and many are vocal about them. I am as guilty of this as anyone. But what makes these opinions different is something fundamental. A part of our essential self that we can very rarely change, even if we wanted to.
Perhaps the problem is not that we all have differing opinions, but that we refuse to listen to others explain their own and really delve into what forms these stances.
I’ve noticed something about myself. I bitch about other opinions that don’t mesh with my own. I rail against individuals who want to continuously award tax cuts to big businesses while cutting funding for medicaid and education. I vehemently denounce any who claim to be religious and moral and then persecute fellow humans for sexual orientation. But what about me?
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that what I find to be absurd, archaic, immoral, ignorant, etc., may make perfect sense to another. My belief in legalizing gay marriage on the federal level seems unspeakably immoral to some. My belief that women in general are capable and reasonable enough to choose what they will and will not do to and with their own bodies gives the impression to some that I am ignorant and evil. The fact that I believe that we should offer assistance to our less fortunate brethren, instead of constantly kicking them while they’re down, seems archaic, soft. It makes me look like an enabler.
I’m now going to explain why I boast my blue and lean to the left. I wonder… if I put it down in rational, concise terms; will it be easier for opposing outsiders to understand my psyche? I’ll never know unless I try.
I am not naive or unreasonable enough to believe that Democrats are angels. Far from it. We are a flawed people, just like any other. In my opinion, the only successful politician is a crooked one. Jaded, perhaps, but I don’t believe one person sits in a position of authority without selling at least a tiny sliver of their soul. As far as politicians go, being a Democrat can almost be reduced to the lesser of two evils. But those people that “represent us” are not the reason I am liberal. It’s the foundation of the party that allured me.
I don’t condone extremism; from any party. Those people who hurt others in the name of their beliefs are lower on the totem pole than those committing the act, in my opinion. There are extremists on both sides. I understand this. Liberal assholes exist just as Conservative ones do. I am liberal because at the end of the day, I sleep easier knowing that I voted for a President who has been an outward supporter of gay rights and equality. That, while my party may not be padding pockets, they are championing a fight for civil rights.
Do I like forking over a portion of my hard-earned money to people who have learned how to cheat the system and live-large while doing nothing? Fuck. No. It infuriates me. And, while it infuriates me that these people milk the nation this way, it makes me even madder that the government has allowed it to persist for so long. They are the body of power that have a) been elected by the people; b) implemented these failing programs; c) watched it happen, bitched about it, and did absolutely nothing. If you want to get mad; get mad at them! They have straight failed us, y’all.
But here’s the rub: when we deny the abusers, we deny the hard-working Americans who have suffered true hardship and have a genuine need for these programs. And that I can’t resolve myself to accept. To me, it’s kind of along the lines of “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (Blackstone’s Formulation). We should not punish our displaced neighbors who can no longer afford their mortgage because our governing body can not get their shit together.
I believe that we should all have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. I also believe that, if people were given a synopsis of the Affordable Care Act in layman’s terms, there may be some who are swayed by its roots. It is flawed. But it could be perfected. If the government would work on it together. Below is, without a doubt, the best video I have seen about the Act. Check it out, with an open mind.
I believe that we should remember that we are a nation of immigrants, who fled a tyrant to seek freedom. And that those founders who fought for those rights should not be disgraced by taking steps backward. Progress is the future, stasis is not beneficial to anyone. We are an ever-evolving species. How can anyone expect our lifestyles, traditions, and standards to remain stagnant? So you have to “press 1 for English.” Who cares?! Does this minuscule requirement truly inconvenience you so much that you have to make legislation about it? I believe the American dream should be attainable for everyone, not just natural-born Americans. Also, make naturalization an easier goal to obtain.
I believe that my daughters should be given the opportunity to receive equal pay when they enter the workforce. Should they be qualified and experienced, and as capable as any man, I expect them to be compensated accordingly for it.
I believe we should stop gobbling up natural resources in a never-ending quest to build more identical dwellings. I think we’re good on the skyscrapers. Maybe we can start focusing on torrential October snow storms in Wyoming or something. You don’t like the phrase “global warming?” Fine. Don’t call it that. For that matter, call it whatever you want. As long as you recognize that the name of the problem is not, in fact, the problem. Let’s just focus on the fact that, pardon the dramatics, apocalyptic weather is upon us.
Oh, and guns? If you’re really THAT worried about your ability to obtain a firearm because of a background check…that probably means it’s better that you don’t have one.
Look, I could really go on and on about this. But it comes down to this: what I can and can not live with. When people claim that they are “socially liberal” but “fiscally conservative.” I internally seethe. Because to me, this means that believe they are forward enough to believe that people are equal…until it comes to their take-home pay. They refuse to call themselves “Republicans,” but they will never, not once, vote for a Democrat. I believe you can take that one to the bank. Why not just own it? You value material things more than humanity. That’s your choice; as well as your right.
I believe that we should protect the weak. I do not believe that we should punish, abuse, or exploit them. Counsel them. Help them reach their potential.
I don’t believe that the government should be allowed to shut down. I mean, really? Tantrums much? Republicans are lambasting Democrats for “pointing fingers.” Well. Here’s the thing. Don’t do stupid shit, and we won’t blame you for it. I’m sorry, but I can’t really see anything in favor of the righties on this one. The Affordable Care Act is law. Period. It went through the democratic process and was deemed legal, enforceable, and constitutional. And now you’re going to stomp your feet and refuse to turn on the lights because you LOST? Unacceptable. Period.
I guess you could say that, for me, it comes down to equality and compassion. I want us to value people more than things. I want every person to be given the opportunity to succeed. I want the under dog to win every now and then. We are a shining example of what underdogs can do. Nobody thought we would ever gain our freedom. England’s weapons, resources, and men were far more bountiful than ours. We fared pretty well then, I have a feeling we could do it again. If we could just get out of our own way.
Dani Strehle, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, is hoping to reshape the narrative to leave behind a better world for her daughters, so that they may sustain, rather than battle and rebuild.