But because we are a mere 63 days from the day we'll all (18 and older, only, please) vote for our choice for the next President of the US of A, people's opinions have kicked into high gear. As a rule, I rarely discuss politics or religion with people I'm not super, super familiar with (like we can talk about it and even if we disagree and think each other are idiots, you'll still love me and I still love you). I think it's silly when people get into heated debates over touchy topics as if there's some possible way that one party is going to say, "You know what?? You're right. I've been wrong all along. I'll change my opinions and beliefs on the double!" Mostly it's going to end in uncomfortable silence, a punch in the face, or a riot on the streets of Chicago. (Don't even get me started on politics and facebook. SUCH a huge pet peeve of mine!) I always think it best that we leave these opinions to the voting booth, the almighty use of our dollars, and who we pray to, meditate to, or pretend doesn't exist.
Unfortunately not everyone else is of this mindset, and lately, those people have gravitated toward me. Over the past month or so, I have found myself in far too many uncomfortable conversations where people are chronicling their political beliefs to me, in the stupid assumption that I agree, and better yet, even care. I do keep a close eye on politics and do have strong beliefs myself (those of which, you'll never learn from my blog, because I don't do that shit). Many of these uncomfortable situations have passed without note, where I politely nod my head while I'm making my mental grocery list, and the belief-sprewer goes on and on, until I can gracefully change the subject or act like I am having a f*cking heart attack, so they'd shut up and leave me alone.
But one incident in particular absolutely infuriated me, and I still haven't quite been able to shake it. I was at a school working with students when a substitute teacher asked me how the political change or lack of change might affect students' money for college. I immediately saw that this was simply an opportunity for her to pretend to listen to what I had to say and then tell me what she thought (because I care so much I can't sleep at night). To avoid this inevitable ridiculousness, I said, "Who knows?" shrugged, and tried to walk away. However, she caught me in her web of bullsh*t beliefs and had me standing there nodding and trying not to have a panic attack, while she began to tell me of the media-induced lies that she subscribes to. Besides trying to inch myself away toe by toe without her noticing, it wasn't too harmful, until she vomited up the most insane line I've ever heard uttered in public: "And what really makes me mad is when blacks and whites get married."
At this very moment, my face flushed, my fists clenched, and I felt a strong urge to put two fingers on her forehead, push it back as hard as I could, and say, "Hey b*tch, it's f*cking 2012. Maybe you should step your dumbass beliefs into this century." Instead, I interrupted her mid-sentence, mumbled something about being there to do work that I should get back to, and walked away, avoiding her at all costs for the rest of the time I was there.
Newsflash: This is my nephew. Notice anything progressive and awesome about this guy?
So, during this political season, no matter your opinion, please keep in mind that other people may not agree with you. You don't know them and what their life situation is. As you ramble on about the right to have abortions, they may be struggling to conceive a wanted child of their own. As you complain about people who take advantage of government funding, they may have just reluctantly applied for unemployment benefits. And they may have the most awesome, beautiful, perfect little angel of a nephew who was created by two people that you just said should never have been able to marry. And when in doubt: keep your opinions to yourself.