Millions of people marched today in solidarity with women around the world, and in protest of the rhetoric of the most recent US presidential election. Many of those people were my friends, and I thank and celebrate you all, and applaud your efforts and the way you exercised your first amendment rights today.
I did not march today, not because I don’t support the cause, or because I’m not an activist, or even because I don’t support the goals of the organization. I stayed home for my safety. I’m extremely claustrophobic in crowds, and my network of people who can bail me out in this new city I live in should arrests be made is nill. Many friends posted Senator Warren’s warning, which listed that you should have a going to jail plan, which I definitely didn’t. And so, things being how they are, I stayed home and cheered from the sidelines, researching next steps and possible female candidates to follow in 2018.
All of this would have been fine, except that a person took it upon themselves to question my activism. To chide my anxiety. To shame me.
Let me first say that nobody has the right to tell anyone else how to spend their spoons. If you don’t know what that means, check out Spoon Theory. But back to my point, it is not your role or your job to tell any adult how they should be spending their energy. Maybe your spouse or your children, but even then they may tell you where to go.
Second, not all activism looks the same. Some attend marches. Some write letters, or speeches, or songs. Some go to city council meetings. There are as many ways to be an activist as there are activists, and there’s no such thing as a wrong way to do it, except not doing it at all.
And finally: behold the problem with our rhetoric in political discussion. You have to agree with me. Not only that, you have to agree with me on all of these different intersections of politics, behavior, science, and logic. Not only that, you have to agree with me in the specific way I want you to, otherwise we disagree and you’re wrong and also Hitler.
Does this sound familiar? Because I am tired of it. So very weary. And to use a phrase which has been beaten to death since November 9th, if you think and act this way, you’re part of the problem.
Spoiler alert: most people don’t agree 100% with everything on their party’s platform. People have different views on different topics, and varying degrees of importance for different topics as well. Some people *really* care about the economy, while some *really* care about social issues, while some *really* care about the environment, and most people don’t have enough energy to care about all of them equally, and certainly not all at the same time.
We need to stop thinking that there is a Right Way to be a Democrat. A Republican. An American. A Person. People disagree. People agree and still act differently from each other. People given the same information as you may reach a different conclusion. It doesn’t mean either of you is wrong or right. Because as I’ve said entirely too much lately, it’s all about worldview.