In my youth I never was political. I felt strongly about marriage equality, but otherwise remained non-fervent on national and global issues. This was easily done as a young person, when the inability to legally vote set me up for powerless (and thus, seemingly pointless) opinions. I had no income, and decisions on homework and career paths seemed more pressing than being politically informed. I respected others for caring more than myself, although one can never know if those other kids actually cared, actually felt, or if they were regurgitating their parents’ talking points to make big impressions (as young people are wont to do). Now, as an adult, my political and sociological leanings rush like a tsunami into consideration for everything I say and do, going so far as to infiltrate my dating standards.… even my groceries! I find I can’t go more than a day without some ferocious and potentially alienating notion coming to fruition and spilling from my mouth.
I conducted a bit of an experiment a few weeks ago, trying to see if I could refrain from saying anything politically charged for a week on any public forum—Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, Jezebel comment threads, etc…. I managed a few days “being on the down-low”, politically speaking, but found that while I frustrate myself voicing my ruthlessly incendiary positions, I was even more frustrated while silenced.
So what broke the gag order? Shelving my feelings for that window of time led me to come out even worse, and I curtly ‘let loose’ on someone (granted, he was being ignorant – isn’t that what they all say?). The lesson I took from this was that I have to find slow, steady outlets for my ferocity or else it boils over. My boyfriend can likely attest to that! Lucky for him, we tend to agree on everything.
Perhaps my test took place in a particularly inflammatory news week and/or politicians were being particularly rude and senseless—maybe it wasn’t the ideal week for such a test, and I became more hot blooded than usual. However, I discovered something vital: I simply don’t give a shit. My test was unwarranted. I like having these strong feelings because I remember what it was like to be apathetic. I would rather be incendiary than quiet. We live in a time of pervasive ignorance and willful negligence (although I have no evidence that it’s any better or worse than prior eras) on the part of our elected officials, and I’d rather try to keep them accountable with my public outrage than validate them with silence.