I’m Sick of Hearing You’re Sick of Politics
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but there’s a presidential election tomorrow.
If you look at my twitter timeline or facebook feed, you might think that the worst thing a person could do, in advance of a presidential election, is to talk about politics. Apparently it’s boring, or they’ve heard it all before, or they just don’t care that much.
I wish that I had the option to put politics aside. I really do. I’d much rather read a new book or spend some time playing the new Assassin’s Creed game (it looks like fun, but I’m letting my husband finish it first) than read about what horrific things the Republicans have said and done today.
But the stakes are too high.
I wish that politics were an optional pastime in the United States. It would be great if it were something that only hardcore wonks talked about, because choices between political candidates were about complex, arcane economic policies. I wish that the implementation of something like quantitative easing was how elections were won and lost.
It’s not, though.
Instead, our elections are about basic values. They’re about my family’s basic right to exist. They’re about a woman’s right to choose. They’re about whether or not your neighbors get to enforce their religious strictures on you and your family.
Maybe those basic civil rights don’t feel like a big deal to you. Maybe they don’t have a big impact. Maybe you feel like your family is protected, regardless of who is elected to Congress or the White House.
I wish I had the luxury of being sick of politics.
I don’t, though. Instead, I wake up on a Sunday morning, and the first thing I do is read the poll numbers. It looks like marriage equality has a real chance in Maine and Washington. I’ll be ecstatic if it succeeds in either, and I’ll pretend that a failure doesn’t feel like a punch to the gut.
I joke about it with my husband, but when I walk by a house with Republican campaign signs in the yard, I wonder, “Do the people in that house hate me?” In my head, I’ve ranked them. When I see a Scott Brown sign, I’ve decided that the occupants are probably just ignorant of the dangers. They probably don’t hate me. A Mitt Romney sign? He’s been pretty clear about what he thinks about the rights of gay people, so those neighbors are more likely to hate me and my family. And when I see a sign for Sean Bielat? Then I know it’s someone to avoid.
Last December, Austin ended up in the hospital unexpectedly. It turned out that he needed to have his gall bladder removed. It was all pretty routine, but after the surgery, he had a fever and needed to stay in the hospital for a few extra days. We’d been supposed to take the kids to Disney World with my parents. Instead, we were hoping that his fever wouldn’t come back and he’d be able to come home.
What I can’t shake, though, is the what-if questions. What if he’d felt sick a few days later, when we were already in Florida? Here in Massachusetts, we’re married. Would a hospital in Florida have treated us the same? Under an executive order from President Obama, they have to. (Sort of. Mostly.) But executive orders are flimsy. They can just change. And you can be pretty sure that President Romney wouldn’t let an executive order granting hospital visitation to same sex couples stand.
That’s just one tiny thing, in a sea of others. Things that impact lives.
So I’m sorry that you’re sick of hearing about politics. I am, too, for different reasons.
But really? Too fucking bad.