Getting Involved

I wasn’t involved in politics during college. Usually a formative time in a young adult’s life, during the peak of activism and youthful passion I abstained from what I perceived as a low-returns endeavor. To tell you the truth, I was far too busy working full-time, studying and writing papers to notice much of anything. For about ten years of my life, I didn’t really watch TV, didn’t listen to the news, didn’t even know what was going on in the world. This is why I have only recently discovered shows like The West Wing and Lost (how did I miss these gems?).

Basically, I have lived the past decade in a time capsule. This is not entirely a bad thing, seeing as I missed out on George W.’s entire stint in office…

While I don’t regret spending my twenties in the company of Virginia Woolf and Mary Shelly, with boyfriends Joseph Conrad and William Shakespeare, I missed out on being engaged with the world around me. My political views reflected this disengagement; I didn’t much care about anything except pushing through this challenging period of life. Whatever free time I had – usually in my car, driving to and from work, to and from class – I spent listening to music, zoning out and giving my over-worked brain a rest.

Since graduating from college, however, I have finally developed opinions of my own. I read the news. THE NEWS. NPR has fast become my favorite radio station (though admittedly not just for their political coverage), even more so than the eclectic rock and country music stations that were my touchstone in my younger years. Perhaps it is the void of intellectual engagement left by my studies, or maybe I’m tired of living with repercussions from political decisions I didn’t make, but whatever it is, I finally feel like I have the right to an opinion now that I have expanded my knowledge.

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were watershed moments. I have never been prouder to be an American, except maybe during the aftermath of 9/11.

As I worked on designing my business cards Tuesday night, pounding down cup after cup of strong coffee in effort to stay awake long enough to pick up Mike from the airport later that evening, instead of turning on the TV for company on a whim I checked Twitter.  At the sight of so many #standwithwendy tweets from my favorite people on Twitter, I followed one of the links to the live feed of the Texas filibuster.

Oh my. I didn’t even know this was happening.

For those of you who don’t know what was happening in Texas, read this from my friend Samantha, because I couldn’t wish to sum it up better than she does. I watched the feed from right around the time the “germane” discussion bubbled to the surface to the bitter end, long past the time the shouting subsided.

Now, I don’t really care where you stand on the abortion issue, reader – I have friends in both camps and I respect everybody’s right to their own opinion. My opinion is not irrelevant, as this is my blog, and personally I believe the government should stay the heck away from women’s choices and bodies. However, I don’t really wish to get into that right now, as it is not the thrust of my topic.

No, what I am trying to convey is the courage and beauty of the American people coming together and successfully protesting something in which they passionately believe when the big guy is trying to stomp them down and silence their voices. It was magnificent to watch, and gave this cynical non-believer in politics a shred of hope for the future.

Crowd in the Texas Capitol

There was also a rather large Supreme Court decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. Once again, I don’t really care about where you stand on same-sex marriage – I have friends in both camps and I respect everybody’s right to their own opinion. Personally, I am tired of the government messing around with other people’s personal, consent-based choices. However, what I am commenting on is the joy felt by so many of my friends at knowing that in the eyes of the law, they are equal. I imagine that’s how women must have felt when they finally obtained the right to vote, how interracial couples felt when their marriages were finally deemed valid.

I don’t talk about politics much, here or in life, because I don’t like starting arguments and I don’t like people condescending to me if my viewpoint differs from theirs, so my opinions may shock some of you who know me in life. This is all part of an attempt to be more authentic and less afraid of others’ opinions.

Truthfully, I am celebrating all this good news.

Today – for once – I am proud to be an American.

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Comments

Getting Involved — 30 Comments

  1. Thanks for linking to my post! I felt Tuesday and yesterday exactly what you felt. In awe of the strength of the people who stand up to defend freedom, and proud to be living in this country at this moment. Also, I’m so glad you discovered The West Wing, my absolute favorite show of all time.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…The Davis FilibusterMy Profile

  2. This is beautifully written. I’m exactly the same way – ignored politics in my 20’s and now heavily opinionated in my 30’s. I guess I just thought that our country had things pretty much together, and then looked up and there were so many inequalities around. Really eye opening. Anyway, loved the post. (Oh, and I only just discovered Lost as well. Love it!)
    Amber recently posted…Mommy Myth: Having two kids is more stressful than three.My Profile

  3. I’m right there with you. I do not know enough to speak intelligently about politics but I do know what I believe and that was confirmed with the great news. I, too, am proud to be an American. And I need to become more informed!
    Kate recently posted…Friends make the car go roundMy Profile

  4. I love that you went ahead and shared your opinion while respectfully declining to engage in political nastiness. I’ve started voicing my opinion more on my own blog, and living less fearfully about posting about faith and politics, but it’s hard to find a graceful way to say, “this is where I stand, and no, I don’t really want to discuss it.” You did so very nicely!

    • Thanks you! Personally, I hate the political nastiness & refuse to engage when people aren’t respectful. I’ve found it so hard to say what I said yesterday, but finally couldn’t keep it in anymore and decided, well, better now than never. Good for you for beginning to find a voice for yourself! It’s hard in a sea of so many conflicting opinions.

  5. I too spent my early young adult years avoiding the news and politics.And because of that,I am,at 42 starting to actually pay attention to what is going on in the news and political world.
    And to see such a strong example of someone standing up for what is right…it’s makes this old mama sit up a little taller.
    I am sharing your blog,as well as the one that was linked in your post,with my friends and even people that I don’t know.
    Thank you.
    (and if y’all are ever in Huntsville,TX,stop by..I am at the very least giving you a cheesecake)

    • Thank you so much, for reading, for sharing, and for sharing your thoughts. I think it’s important to talk about things, but to do so respectfully and intelligently – glad you are forwarding the conversation.
      And I’ll take that cheesecake! ;) Mmm…

  6. I was saying the day after this happened that despite where you stood on the issue it was an incredible moment in history. To see so many people come together…amazing.

  7. I’m proud to be an American this week too! Yay for getting equal rights back in our state. :) And yay to you for being brave and putting your opinions out there no matter the reaction. I think people will love you even more for being honest and true to yourself.
    Ericamos recently posted…Why Free Clinics Are FreeMy Profile

  8. Even though I’m not American I guess I can be proud on your behalf?

    It’s great to see the world slowly moving in the direction of what can be loosely summed up by “everyone having the same rights and choices in life”.

    Great post!
    Daniel Nest recently posted…Comment Spam RouletteMy Profile

  9. Great post, Natalie! It has definitely been an incredible week.

    I love NPR too. Do you ever listen to “The Story” with Dick Gorden, or “On Being”? Both are awesome.

    P.S.Your comment on my post came through on my email,but for some reason it isn’t showing up on my blog – just wanted you to know that I got it, and I’m excited for you to try the cupcakes.
    xo
    Karen recently posted…Boxing shenanigans, and a vegan cupcake recipe for ZoeMy Profile

  10. It was the same for me. I was so preoccupied with life that I really didn’t pay much attention to politics even though my husband is a political junkie and now I am too. I started really paying attention during George W.’s abysmal administration and my interest only intensified with the 2008 elections. Now I watch MSNBC and CNN obsessively. lol I watch my girl Rachel Maddow every night. Politics is kind of like really pertinent gossip and the best sports imho. Some fascinating and historic things have been going on in the news recently and I agree – the government should stay out of our personal decision making and it’s up to the individual to choose for themselves.
    Linda Roy recently posted…The I Don’t Like Mondays Blog Hop – Grab My ButtonMy Profile

  11. I think I need to pay more attention to issues overall both here at home and worldwide.

    I’ve tried to console myself by saying I’m too busy for politics or I have too much on my plate to worry about what’s happening halfway across the world but somehow its not working. Technology reminds me everyday that we are more connected than ever before and that what affects someone here has an effect elsewhere.

    Information moves quickly nowadays so its hard to not be “in the know” yet there are so many things that still comes as a surprise to me.

    Now is a good time for me to try catch up I think.
    Shanique recently posted…Third World BloggerMy Profile

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