I’m taking a break from talking about massage this week.
I’ve always hated election time. All the constant television ads, telemarketing phone calls from political action committees, and all the rest of it. And now that we have social media to vent our opinions on, it just seems to be magnified a thousandfold.
I have always mostly stayed out of the fray. I don’t discuss politics (or religion) with clients at my office. If any of them bring up those subjects, if it’s in a general tone, I let it pass. If they start with specifics, I usually say “You’re here to relax, and a debate is not relaxing. Let’s focus on your (neck, back, whatever) instead and see if we can help you feel better.”
I haven’t said a word about my choice of candidates until a couple of weeks ago. I have several thousand massage therapists on my social networks, and other friends from all walks of life as well. I have seen some of them nearly working themselves up to a heart attack with their political rants on FB. I no longer see them posting pictures of their kids or their dog or talking about their day; it’s all politics, all the time.
Then one day, I thought to myself, I just can’t be quiet any longer. I’ve worried about offending people, but then again, in the past five years, nearly every blog I’ve ever written has offended people. I’ve had people un-friend me on social networks on account of my blog. I’ve ticked off not only individuals, but entire companies and organizations with my revelations and opinions about the politics of massage, and in the general scheme of things, I’m not known for keeping my mouth shut. So in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been letting my opinions be known, and like other people who are doing the same on FB, facilitating some juicy arguments.
For every piece of sensationalism regarding either of the candidates that make it to the news, the opposing party always has an answer:”That was taken out of context. This is what he REALLY said.” “He doesn’t really mean that, what he really means is THIS.” “Shame on the biased media that printed THAT.” It just goes on and on. And yes, both parties do it.One is just as guilty as the other. It’s our task, as voters, to muddle through the hyperbole, the half-truths, the outright lies, the edited videotapes, and the photo-shopped pictures in order to make the right choice…for us. And to bear in mind that what’s the right choice for you isn’t the right choice for me.The reason that you vote for someone will be the very same reason that I don’t.
On my FB page, my political affiliation since the day I signed on has been “Sick of the whole damn thing.” That’s still pretty accurate. The first time I voted, I voted for Ronald Reagan. In the ensuing years, I have come to believe that his opponent at the time, Jimmy Carter, is one of the most admirable people on the planet. Some years ago, I stopped voting for the party, and started voting for the person.
One of the biggest factors at election time is always the economy. Here in my corner of North Carolina, the economy sucks. In fact, here is a photographic essay I did about that. But I can’t blame that on the current administration. It didn’t happen on his watch.
Personally, I’m not rich. I’m not poor. I’m just a middle-class, small-business owner trying to survive–and thrive. If I lost my business tomorrow, I don’t think I could blame that on the president, no matter who that is. So for me, the economy is not the deciding factor in who to vote for.
The deciding factor, for me, is the equal treatment of all human beings. I don’t believe Mitt Romney views women as equal. I’m busting my butt at my business every day, and I’m not one of those women who usually gets home in time to cook dinner, but how nice of him to be concerned about that. And I’ll state just for the record that I’m heterosexual and been married to the same man for 20 years. Romney’s statements on and treatment of gay people have been atrocious.
I cannot remain silent on this issue. Gay people are not more than, or lesser than, me or Romney or anyone else. If YOUR religion teaches that homosexuality is wrong, that’s between you and your higher power. The people of the United States are guaranteed the separation of church and state. The government shouldn’t equate “sin,” or the president and his idea of it, or any political party’s idea of it, and the law. If your religion teaches you to be intolerant of someone because they were born different from you, and to deny them the same rights as other human beings, that’s the reason I don’t belong to your organized religion.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, and that’s why I support Barack Obama.
So you vote as your conscience dictates, and I’ll vote mine. The day after the election is over, we’ll all still be here on the same planet, in spite of our differences. And we can all rest peacefully, secure in the knowledge that whomever wins, the administration that follows them will blame everything that is wrong on them, because that’s the American way.