This blog, both in it’s current incarnation and it’s previous form over on Blogger, has always been something of a “Politics-free zone”. This is entirely on purpose. I try to make it my business, both when blogging and in my everyday life, not to talk about shit I don’t understand. That handily covers pretty much everything that isn’t my own life. Actually, somedays that includes my own life but shhh.
Now I know, I am over-simplifying massively. As Skunk Anansie sings “everything is fucking political”, and it’s true. You can’t really separate life from politics because every area of our lives is influenced and affected, either directly or indirectly by the politics of the places we live in and the people in charge of it. In fact, by choosing to actively avoid even mentioning politics, I’m actually being political but before I am sucked into a vortex in which I just spin around mumbling “political” over and over to myself I will move swiftly on to my actual point…
Which is, that I don’t like to talk about overtly political issues because I feel ill-equipped for the reactions and debates it could potentially bring. I haven’t been able to formulate meaningful arguments since I was studying A-level Religious Studies, when I could argue the shit out of anything at a minute’s notice. I am blessed/cursed with the ability to see things from both/multiple sides, which meant back then I could even argue the case for things I was opposed to and vice/versa. I recall many a pleasant afternoon in college arguing the toss with my friend Rachel about abortion, the death penalty, theft, the existence of God, the merits of Nik-Naks vs Wheat Crunchies, y’know- all the big stuff. Seriously, I carried my opinions like the ridiculous menthol cigarettes I smoked, and would happily whip one out and spark it up whenever and wherever.
Something about growing up, and having children has taken that ability away from me. I have lost the confidence I once had that I could “win” any argument, a chronic lack of sleep has made me slow off the mark, I’m weary of arguing with people whose minds I know I can never change, the cigarettes have long since gone and taken my spark with them.
I also have much fewer opinions than I used to. It’s amazing really, that the more I learn, the more knowledge and information I get, the less I’m sure of what I believe. Nothing is black and white anymore. Except my cat, who is literally black and white:
Everything else is just shades of grey (I hate how it’s impossible to type those three words now without immediately feeling the need to declare your feelings about BDSM).
I used to decide what was ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ using the power of my Dr Pepper and menthol-cigarette fuelled mind, and even if I didn’t have a clear stance on something, I could sure as hell fake one. These days I can’t fake shit, and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are rumbling feelings in my gut, that could easily be mistaken for the indigestion that comes from being almost-thirty and having to share mealtimes with two small children.
I see and hear things every single day that cause a rumble, but I refuse to ‘involve’ myself, for a variety of reasons:
You can’t change their minds
What difference will it make?
Maybe there are factors here you don’t know about?
Are you prepared to accept the consequences of asserting your opinion on this?
What even IS your opinion on this?
I think that last one is a biggie. Sometimes I genuinely don’t have strong feelings either way, and I think as I get older I’m appreciating more and more that that’s okay. It’s okay not to have an opinion on EVERYTHING, and maybe some people on the internet would do well to remember that rather than shoehorning their rage into various cookie-cutter shaped issues.
Also at the end of the day, I’m busy, and I want to feel relaxed and happy and sometimes it’s just easier to ignore stuff that irritates you because otherwise you’d spend all day every day riled up about whatever issue was pissing you off. And I know some people DO that, particularly online, on places like Twitter and Tumblr, and I admire their ability to keep up that level of reasoning and injustice and rage but me personally? I can’t do it.
Basically, I am Unikitty.
I just want to spend my days in happy fucking rainbow land and be left the hell alone to get on with my life.
Does that make me selfish? In my refusal to engage with political issues am I perpetuating all that is wrong with society?
Maybe…probably.But see, as much as I don’t discuss my personal viewpoints on BIG ISSUES online or in my everyday life, I do LIVE them. Everyday I live out what I believe, in front of my children and for now at least, that will have to be my contribution to changing the world- pouring all my energies into living my life in such a way that my children will grow up as decent human beings.
Of course the opposite of Unikitty though is Rage Unikitty. And a consequence of trying to suppress my annoyance and anger at the world is that when it comes out, it looks a lot like this
“YOU ALL NEED TO BE MORE FRIENDLYYYYYYYYYY!”
And that, right there, is my political stance.
You wanted it, you got it.
I have the ability to be, and actually am, friends with people with various viewpoints opposed to my own. It’s not a problem (as far as I’m concerned, maybe it is to them, but they’ve never said so). What allows me to be friends with these people is that we have a mutual respect for each other’s opinions.
I believe in freedom of thought and freedom of speech. I will defend anybody’s right to hold and peacefully express whatever viewpoint they have (no matter how strongly I might disagree with it) BUT there is a difference between thinking and acting. Between articulating your feelings and inciting hatred.
I feel like it shouldn’t be necessary for me to type the following, because it should be a fucking given, that as a human being I am accepting of all other human beings, but just for the record since we’re opening this can of worms, we may as well dive right in hey?
To be clear, I do not and will not tolerate hatred in any of the following forms:
Generally folks, it’s fair to say that if you’d like us to remain friends, it would be helpful if you could avoid the “‘ism’s”, yeah?
To be super clear, I’m saying NO to hatred against any person or group of persons in society based on your personal viewpoint that they are somehow “different” or less of a person than you.
By the way if you find yourself saying “I’m not racist but…” on a semi-regular basis, then heads-up, you’re a fucking racist.
Why I should need to make this shit explicit in THE YEAR 2014, I don’t understand. But there you go.
I cannot protect my children from the world in which we live, I know that. As they grow up I’m sure that like me, they’ll see things that make their heads and hearts hurt, and I’ll have some explaining to do. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to help them understand why some people act the way that they do. In the meantime though, while I still have a modicum of control over their lives, I will not hesitate to challenge you if you start spouting some hate-filled bullshit in their presence.
Additionally, I need you to know that if you’re in the business of bigotry, and wish to express that through the “sharing” of “Britain First” or similar organisations’s posts on facebook then that is your right, but I don’t want to see that crap first thing in the morning before I take my son to school and I’m either gonna block you or call you on it, depending on which incarnation of UniKitty I happen to be that day.
(I’m just going to leave this right here)
Ok, I’m done.