First, I want to point out the first skunk cabbage of the season.
Okay – that’s done. Now let’s get on to being real. I don’t believe I am alone in finding authenticity a challenge every now and then – in the sense that I question whether what I just did or said was real – or was I hedging my bets? By that I mean that one of my Achilles heels (yes, I have more than one) is that I want people to like me – to think well of me – to admire me even. And so on occasion (on Facebook for sure) I question whether I am being as straightforward as I believe I ought to be. Or am I being careful not to offend? Or at least not to offend too much?
After all, I still want to be liked/admired.
And – at the very same time – I do want to be kind, especially to people I know and like. I want to find areas of agreement. I don’t particularly want to polarize.
But then, there are times I feel I must take a stand – times when hard choices have to be made.
So these are all things I question. Perhaps questioning itself is part of my authenticity.
At this exact moment I am at a loss.
Most of what I am referring to is wrapped up in politics. It’s easy to stand firm on your favourite singer on The Voice. Nothing polarizing about it. Hard to give offence. Easy to argue about a movie I like or I book I love.
But politics – well, that reveals who you are – it deeply shows what you care about. Politics reflects on you as a person.
For instance, I will never have anything in common with a Trump supporter. I don’t want to know Trump supporters. Period.
And now we come to the Democratic primaries and I am stumped by those who take a centrist position – and some of these are people I like. That said, I have a caveat for myself. The centrists I know are financially well off. I suspect they like the status quo. They like their lifestyles.
I see centrists as “Republican lite.”
And maybe if we lived in a different time and place, I wouldn’t care all that much. Joe Biden, Mayor Pete – whatever. The world will keep turning.
But that is no longer true. I believe today’s centrists wold have hated FDR – very “socialist.”
But here’s the real crux of the matter: I believe the scientists. We are running out of time. In fact, we may already have run out of time. Someone recently said (paraphrasing here) that with Trump we are doomed; with Biden we are doomed a touch less quickly. The world is burning and flooding and millions of species are going extinct. Humans could well be one of those species. And still “centrists” want to do thing incrementally. They don’t even talk about the environment. We are in a state of emergency but centrists want business as usual – oh sure, a few tweaks here and there, but let’s not do things differently. We still want our cars and boats and our fossil fuels and our plastic water bottles.
We still think Capitalsm is the best system and please – no help for the poor because that’s socialism. Socialism only for the rich. Let’s bail out the bankers, not the poor students.
The real joke in all this is that Biden leads in delegates because of the voters in the southern sates – which will go Republican anyway in November.
Okay – enough of that spouting off. I want to focus more on me and mostly, me being real. How do I reconcile wanting to be liked with taking a stand that I believe is important? Do I just stop caring about others’ opinions? I think I’ll have to.
But here’s the promise I make to myself. If I disagree, I will be straightforward but polite. I will do my very best to check my facts and to treat online conversations as debates rather than flame fights.
And – stay out of it too. That’s important. For the most part, people don’t change their minds or ideologies, even when presented with evidence. I hope I will change my mind if evidence warrants. I read a piece today about Joe Biden and how he has changed over the years – not so much a misogynist any more – not so much an old white privileged guy any more – no longer into homophobia – etc. etc. And yes, people do change. I will look for evidence of it. I’m open to that.
Mostly though, I want to be open to listening to my inner voice and following it. I want to be true to myself. I want to work toward a better world – hell, toward saving the one we have. And that requires dramatic shifts and changes that will not be comfortable. For anyone.