I have a high profile job which often places me in truly bizarre situations. As a result, I have a decent following in social media. I try to keep it light, fun, and interesting, but on very rare occasions, I speak my mind. Throughout this election season, I've kept my politics away from facebook. Inspired by fellow Kossacks leaving it all on the road, I sent out a post tonight which has generated a near-record response from my network.
Let's step over the mess that the little orange dog left there on the kitchen floor, and I'll tell you more.
I wanted to make this election personal. Sure, we can talk about deficit ceilings, trade embargoes, even a nuclear Iran, but let's face it, the abstract doesn't reach the heart. And you can watch all the warm fuzzy commercials you want, but it doesn't resonate when it's another random yapping face sandwiched between Potsy Webber getting into a real pickle and The Fonz getting him out of it
So I posted this:
OK, I try to keep politics out of my posts, as I have friends on all four sides of the aisle. (Yeah, you weirdoes know who you are.) A lot of people I know are going to be personally affected by this election, and I’d like to tell their stories—anonymized, of course. There’s a guy who works a McJob who hasn’t had adequate health care in years, and is looking forward to seeing a doctor again. At his age, it may even save his life. There’s a couple whose relationship has outlasted all of mine combined; they should be able to visit each other in the hospital. There’s a kid I know who should be paid the same as her male friends if she works the exact same job as them. That same kid should be able to choose when she starts a family and not have it dictated by her employer’s religious beliefs. There’s a woman with a chronic condition aching to start her own business, but can’t unless she can get health insurance. There’s a child who should grow up in a world which honors science, not mocks it or sells results to the highest bidder. There’s a desperate city under water, we shouldn't leave its recovery to an organization whose primary directive is turning a profit. There’s a teacher, cop, and firefighter who give a lot more than they take--and should be celebrated, not demonized. There’s a woman whose livelihood depends on the rest of the world viewing America as welcoming enough to visit, saber rattling sends a profit margin's worth of her customers elsewhere on vacation. There’s a man whose disease could be greatly helped by stem cell research. I could go on, (and on) but you get the idea. Call me a socialist, dreamer, a tax and spend liberal, whatever you want. I think these things are all worth paying for, and I’ll happily write that check—even more happily if everyone pays their fair share. Thanks for reading, I’m going to put away the soapbox until 2016. Whether you agree with me or not, vote. It's the one thing that the powerful people are really afraid of.Within minutes, likes and comments starting appearing, nearly all of them positive. Most encouraging were the ones from my swing state friends (VA, NC, FL, OH) who had either "liked" Mitt Romney or posted right wing materials in the past. I think all of them can identify with at least some of my friends described in the post. These are talking point regurgitators suddenly having to see things in shades of gray, a real eye opener.
I'm sure you have friends, too--conservative and liberal--who personally benefit from progressive policies. This is the time to make our case, to speak out on their behalf, and remind everyone that the election is about people, and people's lives. You'd be hard pressed to believe someone who posted "I know this billionaire who wants to hire more people, but can't afford it because of his taxes," "my grandmother is threatened by Chinese currency manipulation" or "I have a friend who is directly threatened by Iranian uranium enrichment." But their underemployed uncle who needs to see a doctor but has no insurance--that's real life. Of course, the big picture issues are important, but humans are emotional beings, and we interact with other humans continuously. It's much harder to cast a vote against someone's daughter, brother, or neighbor than it is to vote against a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Illegal Alien.
2012. This time, it's personal.
Mandatory Recc List Thingy: It's about time you bastards recognized my genius.
Seriously, I am flattered beyond belief. I'd like to thank my mom, my third grade handwriting teacher, Flying Spaghetti Monster...