You know, it was so easy when W. was president. I wouldn’t watch his speeches except for clips (and I would cringe as he spoke), and I pretty much ignored his existence as much as I could and still be up-to-date on what was happening in the world. I would periodically see what W. was saying, and I’d think, “Bullshit.” I would see Cheney make a statement, and I would think, “Double bullshit.” In fact, go down the line. Rummy? Bullshit. Condi? Bullshit. Colin Powell? Pause. Listen. Bullshit. Dana Perino? Bullshit.
Yes, it was frustrating to have a president who lied all the time or who believed the wrong thing (see, WMD, Saddam Hussein), but it also made my political beliefs rather easy to define. Whatever W. and company said, I opposed. OK, that’s not completely true. W.’s intervention in Africa in concerns to malaria was a good thing, which, of course, is somewhat mitigated by the gag rule he imposed there (I know, different topic, but same region and same issue, health). However, that was the exception that proved the rule.
It was frustrating to say the least, but at least it was easy. If W. said something, I was agin it (for the most part). Then I went about my merry way of grumbling under my breath about politics, but for the most part, ignoring the whole shebang. After all, there wasn’t a damn thing I could do, so I might as well not let it get to me (much).
That all changed once we elected President Obama. Suddenly, the Democrats controlled all three branches of government, and I was way more engaged in the process than I had ever been. In part, it’s because Obama is MY candidate. He is the first candidate I actually felt gave a shit about me and about other ordinary people. In fact, watch this video and be in awe as our prez listens to a question, writes a note, and formulates a thoughtful response at the same time (h/t to Alex). I mean, it boggles the mind. After eight years of sheer obstinance, this is a sight to see.
Anyway, now that we are in power (muah-hahahahaha!) and the wingnuts are out in full force, I’ve had to examine my political beliefs to see what I truly believe. You see, I’ve been bopping down the road ever since I could vote assuming that I was a middle-of-the-road liberal with a lefty leaning. Nothing more, nothing less. However, I’ve reluctantly had to conclude that once again, I am in the minority. You see, I am a lefty lefty. I know, I know! It shocked me, too. However, after listening to the debate on abortion after the assassination of Dr. Tiller, among other things, has made it abundantly clear that I am about as far left as possible.
I mentioned before that NPR reported that most Americans want abortion to be illegal in some instances. A small fringe on the right wants abortion to always be illegal, and a small fringe on the left wants abortion to always be legal. Well, that surprised the hell out of me, but I can’t say for sure it’s not true. Whatever. I will state firmly and with conviction that abortion should always be legal. It’s nobody’s fucking business but the woman who is making the choice with the support of her loved ones and her doctor. That’s the bottom line to me.
Anyway, that was the beginning of the realization that I’m not just a liberal, I’m a fucking progressive. We need to dismantle the systems that don’t work and build ones that do. In other words, I am to the left of President Obama. I knew this, but I never knew how far to the left I really was. For those of you who know me, stop laughing. Denial is a healthy thing. Until it no longer works.
President Obama’s lawyers are defending DOMA and DADT in court. They are using the same distasteful arguments that the last two administrations have used to push these two horrible laws (ed note: they were using the briefs done by the Bushie guys). In this one area (queer rights), I have serious doubts that the president is the “fierce advocate” of queer civil rights that he proclaims himself to be. A ruling just passed that the an immigrant widow or widower of an American citizen cannot be deported. Good. As it should be. However, the living immigrant partner/spouse of a gay person can be deported. As Rachel and others have noted, dead straight American citizen is more equal than a living gay American citizen when it comes to marriage. This was not the fucking change I believed in.
Look, I know President Obama has a lot on his plate, and unlike many on the far left, I am waiting to see what he actually does with the Gitmo detainees and other issues of all the war crimes the last administration committed. Even with queer issues, I am not demanding that he rescind DADT or DOMA right away. I’m just asking that he doesn’t further perpetuate them for now. I would like him to issue a stop-gap order instructing the military to put a halt to the firing of queers until Congress actually gets its act together and does something about it. I am not asking that he unilaterally change the laws, but I am asking that he doesn’t push them even further.
In some ways, it would be even easier if I was a true lefty lefty, but I am not. Some would say I only care about issues that affect me, but that’s not even right. I have enough money that if I needed an abortion and it was illegal in this country, I could fly to another country to get one. Or, drive to Canada, which I can see from my house. I am planning on getting my tubes tied this year, any way. I’ve been meaning to do it for the last few years, but I just never got around to it. With the current climate of crazy hatred from the right, I think it’s time to do the dirty deed.
In addition, as I have stated ad nauseam, I don’t want to marry. I have issues with marriage itself, but as long as we are theoretically a country that believes in the separation of state and church, then queers should be able to marry as well.
I think many of my beliefs are based on my own personal morality which shifts, changes, and deepens as I grow older. I do not want the next generation of women to have less choices than I do. I want love to win out over hatred and bigotry. I want everyone to be the best person s/he can be, and not just what others want her/him to be. I know, it’s the incurable optimist in me. I keep trying to kill her off, but she remains incredibly stubborn about sticking around.
P.S. The title comes from a Lowen & Navarro song. It’s not on YouTube, so I will link We Belong instead. They wrote it and sold it to Pat Benatar before they realized what they were doing.