Well, I did it again. Embroiled myself in yet another tete-a-tete with a rabid dog from the other side of the political fence. It was online, so there was no blood.
My Sisyphean struggle to convince just one conservative that a) President Obama is not a socialist, b) socialism really isn’t a bad idea if you really like things like police departments and public schools, or c) that President Obama is actually the goddamn president of the fucking United States seems as fruitless as Tantalus. And yet I’m drawn to it in a strangely obsessive way.
First, I admittedly enjoy these embroilments. Why know shit if you never get to masterfully weave it, seemingly extemporaneously, into a conversation? I went to school to learn how to do this, for Gaia’s sake. I not only am capable of presenting a solid argument, I have a license to do so.
Second, I feel an almost spiritual calling to bring just one penitent soul to the progressive altar. Just one confession that healthcare for every American really would be kinda’ nice. Just a few Hail Marys offered up with an admission of capitalist guilt. I don’t need a full conversion. If I could even just get my brother-in-law to crack a smile at a Sarah Palin joke, I’d put up a Mission Accomplished banner on the deck of the nearest aircraft carrier and call it good.
Mostly, though, I really believe what I say, which, of course, means I’ll only ever be a political observer and not an actual politician. The birds in the Gulf covered in oil? My eyes well up in tears for them. The Afghan children caught in the crossfire? My heart just downright breaks for them. Hearing a “friend” explain the reasons why he believes gay marriage should not be legal? I want to place my family – my partner, our kids, our grandkids – right in front of him. Mine, and the millions of families the world over continuing to live in the legally nonexistent primary social structure they’ve managed to artfully craft out of their own experience and ability.
So, although I really should resist the temptation to engage, sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes lives depend on it. So I march on. I respond to that online thread that I know will get sticky. I live with the residue of it on my person for the next day or two. I take my stand.
It’s just my way.