I had a “discussion” with the Giant last week and it sort of blew up and smoke was billowing into the clouds and then, just like that, it was over and things were fine. I don’t normally have “discussions” with men that I date because, typically, if I’m at all interested in them, part of the reason is that we have very similar views on politics and religion and that which makes up our moral fiber. The only two people I can think of that I’ve dated in the last year that I didn’t mesh with in this respect are HSD and Ginger.
Ginger was at least socially conservative, albeit really fucking fiscally conservative and something of an Obama-hater. My solution there was just to ignore him because, c’mon… I was just flinging with him. Who cares where he stands politically, right? At least he was an Atheist.
HSD was a different story entirely. I don’t know WHY I never asked important questions of him in the beginning… I was probably mesmerized by his washboard abs and tan freckles and his smile. But I didn’t even REALIZE he was a republican until AFTER we had broken up the first time. We just… never discussed it. Or, when I did, he never chimed in. HSD was also CHURCH-GOING. Seriously… You read that right. The man incapable of monogamy that would spend one weekend schtuping me for three days straight and getting drunk and smoking pot was the same man that would dress his kids up on his kids-home weekends and take them to fucking church.
I mean, I guess that’s not THAT much of a stretch for religious people in the South.
My experience growing up religious was… different. Of course, the church I grew up going to has since been disbanned as a cult, but really, with the exception of a lot of the leadership, I don’t really think that ALL of the church was a cult. They didn’t wear black sneakers and discuss mass suicide. They didn’t believe that our leaders were prophets. They were just… people of conviction… sometimes (most times?) blind conviction.
Clearly, a lot of the things we were taught as children and teenagers — that members of our specific movement were the only ones getting into heaven, that it was ungodly to date non-members of our church, that our salvation was somehow tied to how “fruitful” we were (how many other people we baptised), etc — these things were drilled into us and, honestly… pulled out of thin air. They weren’t supported by scripture but were craftily woven into some pieces of parts of the bible so that they would SOUND like the truth.
But one thing that I gained in my adolescence that I appreciate is my level of conviction. I think a lot of it was inherent. My parents tell me stories about when I was a child, if they spanked me for something or punished me in some way, if I didn’t think that I did anything wrong, I would stand there and stone-wall them. Not gonna cry. Not gonna even crack.
So when it comes to things that I believe in, things that I feel passionately about… I am unwavering… Unwilling to budge. I don’t give a shit what it is that you believe and, in most cases, I steer VERY clear of any sort of debate because I often feel like, unless someone WANTS to change their mind, a debate is an exercise in futility and a good way to grow sour feelings. I know — I KNOW — that my mind isn’t changing on the issues that I hold near and dear.
Where the fuck was I going with all of this?
Oh, right. Conviction versus compromise. So, in that conversation with the Giant, he snubbed my boycott-happy ass because he believes that if you really want to see change, you have to march in and start blowing up shit… That one little person choosing not to buy something from a large corporation doesn’t make a difference.
I believe — and I realize this is very idealistic, but I still cling to this belief with every fiber of my bitty being — that if more people thought about their actions and carried themselves like that “one” boycotter, that as a collective, we could make a ripple that could incite change on a larger level.
Then we started talking hypothetical situations and lawdhavemercy, nothing ends well when you’re talking hypotheticals because seriously… It’s all hypothetical. You don’t KNOW how you’re going to react to something, you can only speculate. “So, you’re a cancer researcher. The only company that wants to fund your research is under the umbrella of a large corporation that has a division that also manufactures war-grade nuclear weapons. You’re telling me that you would NOT take the money and the chance for the research because you disagree with the manufacture of war-grade nuclear weapons?” (I’m paraphrasing, beeteedubs.)
And my answer was a hearty, “YES!” Because what? I’m going to do all this hypothetical research and find a hypothetical cure for cancer just so that we can produce weaponry that will, hypothetically, cause a nuclear war in which we will all be exposed to so much radiation that we will… all… get… cancer? Fuck that noise. That’s running on hamster wheel!
I would rather do research in my basement and do it with integrity! “So some other dude is going to end up curing cancer before you all because you let your principles get in the way of the greater good?” Oof. If we all had principles like mine, wouldn’t THAT do something amazing for the greater good?
The Giant feels like he’d do whatever it took, sacrificing whatever position he had on an issue to take care of himself and his family. And I remember just being stunned… Like, imagining myself marrying someone like this and considering whether or not I could respect a man who would so quickly “sell-out”.
I’d rather eat ramen and live in a tiny apartment my whole life and die knowing that my legacy was standing up for something important, than die with “extra” money or extra things but without anybody really knowing what the fuck I believed in.
And then this week, I got an email from somebody about helping redesign a website and build a social presence for a politician. Apparently, the Chief of Staff for the Campaign office for Mr. Blah-de-Blah, republican candidate for Congress in Florida, has a mutual friend of mine on Facebook. I recall somebody posting on my wall and saying that they had a friend who needed some graphics work done and could they send them my email. But I don’t even remember WHO did that now.
I swear to God, I have the WORST memory for that kind of shit.
Well, turns out this new potential client was not just a republican, but the worst kind… Against gay marriage, aggressively pro-life, and ready to drill-baby-drill! (Among other things).
I just… I couldn’t do it. I mean, I probably turned away a $400-500 job here which is a lot of money, but I just felt… compromised. And not the kind of compromise that is good for you, but compromisED. How could I participate in an effort for someone that goes AGAINST my beliefs? If he was a Klansman, I would never support him and nobody would chastise me for it. But is active effort to block the progress of the LGBT population not just as bad as violent racism? Isn’t micromanaging a stranger’s uterus and ripping through our planet’s breastbone for black gold just as bad?!
Some people on my facebook status update today had a different opinion than me.
“Somebody’s going to do it. Social media is turning into a big business. All I’m saying is why not get some more professional experience under your belt and get paid for it. Hell, I don’t think a Democrat has ever offered me a project.”
“You aren’t running the campaign or anything! It would be good experience.”
And I don’t judge these people for having a different position than me, but it would EAT ME UP inside if somehow, by doing a job for someone I don’t support, I ended up delivering a blow — however small it may be — to the very things that I’m fighting for.
I remember one other situation that happened like this where I was once asked to print protest signs for a pro-life group with pictures of aborted babies and phrases like, “Don’t be a murderer!” I couldn’t do it. I just… I mean, imagining myself driving down the street with my son in the car and just la-de-dahing along the way and seeing protesters on the side of the street, polluting my son’s mind with, what I consider, to be poisonous information? And then imagining the sinking feeling in my stomach when I have to try to explain to my son why I disagree with the people holding the signs — unexplaining what my work might explain to someone…?
It’s all too much.
My friend Christine summed it up beautifully:
“There’s a lot I could overlook for the right price…but I could not actively promote a Republican candidate. Good for you!”