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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Do Not Mistake My Silence for Apathy

A few weeks ago I was trying to come up with subject matter for this blog - because while I want to get back into the habit of writing again, I can't always come up with something to say (which I know is a shocker to anyone who really knows me).

My only restriction was no politics.

Someone asked me - why no politics?

And I never answered - until now.

Until recently, I was never interested in the political scene. To me, it was a bunch of idiotic blowhards spewing out whatever they felt that John Q. Public needed to hear - and for the most part, that's exactly what it was.

As an adult, I slowly started paying more attention, but it still wasn't a major part of my life. When I started dating The Dude, I got into it a little more - but it's hard not to when you fall in love with a conspiracy theorist who lives and breathes politics. I started learning a little bit more to either figure out if he was actually mouthing off about something that could possibly be true, or to prove him wrong.

But realistically, even he and I don't talk politics much. We agree on some things, disagree on others, refuse to discuss some, and generally go about our lives while trying to do our parts to make the world a better place.

Given the current political climate in this country, it's hard not to discuss it. Take a 5 second look at Facebook and you'll see more than your share of posts supporting one person while disparaging another, outright bashing anyone who doesn't follow similar beliefs, memes trashing one group of people or another, "statistics" supporting/disproving whatever the current hot topic is, and just hate. So much hate.

Never has this country been more divided than it is right now, and social media is a huge contributor to that.

People who have always preached love and acceptance are lumping everyone together - Democrat or Republican, left or right, liberal or conservative, Trump or Clinton or Obama, veteran or refugee, protester or sheeple, pro-life or pro-choice, non-religious or religious, LGBTQ/ally or anti-equal rights - you name it, there's a category for it. But what people are not realizing is that not everyone fits into one single category. There is not one all-inclusive label that works for everyone.

Everyone is so busy screaming and yelling over everyone else that no one is listening. No one can hear anything over the noise.

Everyone has to prove that their meme, their statistic, their quote, their cause - applies to everyone.

Everyone seems to forget that one of the things that makes this country great is that everyone has the right to their own beliefs - and it's ok to have different beliefs than your neighbor does.

It's not ok to force your beliefs down someone else's throat, no matter how strongly you believe them.

It's not ok to bash someone for not believing as you do.

It's not ok to spread hate.

It's not ok to yell at people and tell them IF YOU'RE NOT SAYING ANYTHING, THEN YOU'RE A PART OF THE PROBLEM.

If you've said this, then let me say this -

You're wrong.

I choose not to say anything not because I am content with what is happening, because I'm not.

I choose not to say anything because if I admit that until now, I've had zero interest in politics and I am just starting to figure it all out, you'll bash me for being uneducated.

I choose not to say anything because I'm struggling to listen to everything that everyone else is saying so that I can do my own research to learn the details and clarify my own position before I have to defend it to you.

I choose not to say anything because I know that no matter what, someone is going to scream at me and tell me that I'm wrong and not give me a chance to explain why I feel the way that I do.

I choose not to say anything because I don't want to fight with you.

I choose not to say anything because I'm tired of hate.

I'm tired of anger.

I'm tired of fighting.

I'm tired of our differences pulling us apart, instead of our similarities uniting us.

Now - more than ever - is the time to lift each other up in spite of our differences.

Sometimes you have to be silent in order to listen.