as I walk

the journey to becoming me

been watching too much MSNBC

I was in first grade and Reagan had just been re-elected.  The teacher asked us to write about why we wanted to be the President of the United States when we grew up.  I distinctly remember saying that I did NOT want to be the President, that it was too much work and that when I grew up I wanted to be tall.  I’m not so sure though all these years later, if I was going for a laugh, or if I was being genuine.
I had the same assignment the next presidential race in 1988 (I’m really dating myself here huh?).  I argued with Mrs. Rodenburg (the woman who holds the worst teacher ever slot for me and I still get a glare/squint when I think about 4th grade with her) about it.  I was adamant that I did NOT want to be the President.
Now, before you go off thinking about how I was such a poorly politically educated child, allow me to enlighten you.  I grew up watching CSPAN with my mother.  I was so excited to see if the “yeas” or “nays” would win.  I would listen to the House of Representatives give their long drawn out pleas for some totally ludicrous and never cost-effective bill.  I watched the news nightly and was always amazed at how what we did in our country could affect others.  I knew more about the executive and legislative branches of government than I did Sesame Street characters (I didn’t find the judicial branch all that interesting until high school).  My point, is that because I knew so much about it, I knew that I’d be in over my head and wanted nothing to do with that responsibility.
I remember the first time I swore.  It was during a presidential debate in 1992.  I called Hillary Clinton a bitch.  My mom seemed okay with it (this is a woman who wouldn’t allow us to say the “c” word – crap).   She was pleased with my political leanings [regurgitation].  Granted, your political leanings when in 7th and 8th grade are what your parents tell you they are.  Ironically, in the 2008 election, I was totally gunning for Hillary (though I listened to conservative talk radio).  I’m still all about her.  She is my favorite Secretary of State ever.
Thankfully in high school I didn’t have any teachers who assumed all wanted to be President.  Knowing my obnoxious self, had there been that assignment, I would have simply recycled (and thoroughly annotated) my first grade “I just want to be tall” thesis.
Maybe I’m thinking about all of this because of the amount of time I spend watching MSNBC while working the overnight shift.  Maybe it’s because I still can’t get over the fact that Obama’s campaign slogan is forward… and I have that tattooed on my arm (the tat came first).  But… I do love politics.  I love seeing how one little shift in government can make a dramatic change here and abroad.  Isn’t it crazy that our economy depends on an election in Greece?  We’re all interconnected.  That’s actually why I love Clinton.  She seems to actually care about the human rights crisis in North Korea, not simply their nuclear program.
Also, this year, I find myself more deeply invested in issues that I had previously felt less conviction about.  I’ll admit, that I didn’t want to have to take a stance on certain things because it flies in the face of my political upbringing.  Now though, I know I have to go with my gut.  I’ve been re-thinking how I view myself politically.   Growing up, I was a republican.  I remember thinking that democrats were going to hell – just for being a democrat.  Jesus after all was a republican (I don’t know of any “sarcastic fonts”, so italics will have to do).  Despite all my knowledge and zeal for politics, I had the two major political parties separated in my brain based on one issue – abortion.  Democrats kill babies. Republicans don’t.  [spoiler alert] As it turns out, that’s not the case.  It’s not a cut and dry issue and there are a bazillion differences between the parties.
I’ve evolved in my political stance.  I’ve gone from registered republican to independent to democrat.  There are some things I’m not totally down with in the democratic party sure, but the areas of social justice, human rights, foreign policy, and gun control more closely align with my moral compass than that of the party that my religion has traditionally dictated I belong to.
I’m a firm believer that like sexuality, your politics can be fluid.  Meaning, that you don’t need to necessarily be in a perfect box.  You don’t need to claim that label forever.  You evolve.  Your politics can as well.  So, for now, I’m a democrat… but maybe in a few years (after Hillary gets elected in 2016), I’ll switch to another party.  If I do, it will be because that’s what I feel is best for our country and for others.

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