I’ve avoided a political discussion/post for a while because, in truth, I am no expert and I know how easily messages are misconstrued. Emotions are heavy on all sides and I usually believe in a middle ground. I believe in that now, as well, however, I feel we are at a point that this issue, the issue of our humanity is at stake. There is no middle ground when it comes to our humanity. Over and over again we have been exposed to people degrading and demeaning what it means to be human if you don’t fit into some arbitrary, and quite frankly, irrelevant parameter.
A couple of things happened today. I was involved in a discussion that quickly turned south because I positioned myself on the fact that everyone has a right to access basic necessities. It was as simple as that. This individual stated, “Veterans choose to be homeless.” My jaw hit the floor and I quoted statistics based on healthcare (as that is our field) which state veterans on average need to wait six months to access healthcare. Veterans have a typically higher statistic of mental health issues so if you have someone who is predisposed to a condition and then force them to wait an additional six months for assistance, it stands their mental state may deteriorate further and inhibit them making healthy decisions for themselves. They may no longer have the capacity to obtain help.
I quoted the statistic that one in eight Americans go hungry and this person said, “Where are they?” It was at this point I realized the level of entitlement I was dealing with. Simply because you can’t see it, it means it doesn’t exist? Does that mean you don’t breathe oxygen? I told her the hospital we work at now incorporated questions about food security, meaning that in our area we have people who aren’t able to get enough to eat and/or they don’t have access to food. We see it every day and she couldn’t acknowledge the issue existed.
This individual acknowledged that their time is spent at work and at home to which I replied, “There’s your problem.” People, the world is big and simply because someone has an issue you don’t, it doesn’t negate that it exists. If you don’t take the time to become aware of what occurs outside your bubble you are shutting out 99.999999% of the population. That is a choice and that is ignorance. The fact that you can choose to ignore other people’s issues because you don’t share that experience is privilege.
The last issue that occurred today was I saw the same post four times from four different people stating, “I don’t care who you vote for, it’s about how you treat those voting differently than you.” Huge issue with this on so many levels. First of all, language choice is huge in this statement. This statement professes an ability to see past different views and to treat each other with respect regardless of any differing opinions. YET….these are the same people who condemn others for demanding respect, equality, and basic human rights. The second issue with the above statement is that, in this election in particular, it isn’t just a voting issue. It’s a human rights issue. It’s an existence issue. You can’t pretend 98% of the population doesn’t exist because you don’t see that world. If you think your opinion is worthy of being defended over the lives of others, I heartily say fuck you. Who you support in this election speaks to the core of who we are and our humanity. This is beyond policy—although that is absolutely at stake as well—this is about life. We are worth more than ANY bottom line. More than someone’s tantrum because their fear of how other people live. More than anyone’s ego. Wake up. Stand up.