A Stance Worth Taking

I know there are some people who don’t grasp why I take politics so seriously. Because, in the end, nothing else really matters. Your political stance says just about everything about you. Do you believe that men and women are equal, that one race or nationality is no better than another, and that everyone has the right to practice their own religion in their own space without persecution? Or do you think men should have the right to rule women, that YOUR race or nationality is superior to all others, and that freedom of religion means only YOUR religion?

These are vital questions, quite likely the most vital questions of our time. While others argue about the movies they like, the music they listen to, the clothes they prefer, or an assortment of other things that really don’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things, I’m concerned about things that affect the quality of life for every single one of us. I’m concerned about whether or not we’re leaving a planet worth living on to our children and grandchildren. I’m worried whether we’ll finally succeed in sparking perpetual war. I’m worried whether women will be denied the rights to control their own bodies. I’m worried that people will continue to be blocked from voting because of a mix of poverty and race. I’m worried that people will be allowed to starve, or die of disease, simply because it doesn’t matter to those with the power to prevent it. That money will trump humanity and we’ll be little more than well-dressed barbarians with fancy gadgets and no clue about the things that really matter in life.

Compare this to the people who worry if they’ll have the means to kill someone if they deem it necessary, or those who are concerned that not being able to force their beliefs on other people is somehow infringing on their right to practice their own religion. That environmentalists will somehow block a pipeline that will provide a handful of permanent jobs at the risk of massive environmental catastrophe. Worried that businesses will flee America completely if we actually demand a certain level of ethical and socially responsible behavior on their part.

These are not equivalent beliefs.

Some say liberals are a strange new breed of human, because, unlike every other culture that preceded us, we actually care about people with whom we share no genetic ties. We are concerned with them beyond the bounds of family, community, nation, or ethnicity. From one perspective, we’re an evolutionary branch–humans who are more adaptable to change and capable of dealing with uncertainty without curling into a feral, fearful ball with our teeth bared and claws out. It isn’t necessarily uncertainty that bothers us, but certainty. Certainty that humans aren’t causing climate change. Certainty that YOUR religion is the one true religion and all others are the work of demons. Certainty that being an American is the best possible thing you can be and everyone else should worship the ground we walk upon.

Yeah, your politics matter. It informs your approach to social issues and your fellow humans. It suggests what you’re willing to sacrifice to make a better world for your children and grandchildren. Some people are willing to sacrifice some amount of security, some amount of convenience, in order to help usher in a better world for our progeny.

If you’re one of the ones who thinks it doesn’t matter, that politics is just a distraction, I have to question. While you’re focused on which team one the Big Game, or which singer is rocking the mic on American Idle, or which dress looked the best on the red carpet, some of us are actually worrying about the world we’re leaving those who come after us, and are fighting to make sure it’s the best possible world we can make it. Those who can’t understand this are as much the reason things are all messed up as those directly opposing what we’re trying to do.

Don’t EVEN tell me politics doesn’t matter. It’s damn near the only thing that does.