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.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 26, 2013
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.
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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