Saturday, September 15, 2012

Scared in the USA

So I'm hanging on Facebook the other day, taking part in a bit of a political discussion on a friend's wall. He's stumping for President Obama, I'm agreeing with him, and in comes a friend of his who's backing Romney. We're discussing wage inequality and the gender gap in pay, and she pipes up with, "I guess I've been lucky--I've never been paid less than a man in the same job, so I have no reason not to vote Romney/Ryan."

What? Are you serious? Are you stupid? You don't think (and you're probably wrong) that you've ever been directly affected by a grossly unfair, sexist trend and therefore you're going to vote for the guys who don't give two spits about it? Who support polices that forward it? Really?

Well, let's toss that silly Voting Rights Act, then, because I've never been black and denied the right to vote. If it doesn’t affect me, who cares, right?

This woman saw nothing "off" about her position. She absolutely failed to recognize the impact wage inequality has on ALL of us, not just the women being underpaid. She couldn't comprehend why she should care, why she should, in any way, concern herself with the problems of others.

Is she typical? Is this considered good or right? I'm serious--have we slid that far, sunk that low? I know that "I got mine, screw all y'all" has been a growing trend since the early 80s, but surely we can do better than that.

Surely we WANT to. Don't we?

It seems we, as a nation, disconnected somewhere along the line. We went from "man on the moon/Roe vs Wade/human rights champions of the world" to something smaller. Greedier. We've become a nation where the loudest are the ones calling for a richer rich, a poorer poor, and a non-existent immigrant population to blame for all ills. I know we can't all have fallen so far. We can't have all given up on that dream of peace and fairness.

So where are we? And when did we stop putting ourselves in the shoes of our fellow men and women?

We're facing an historic election. We're faced with a clear choice. And for the first time in my life, I am scared. Scared to death. For the first time in my life, I can actually foresee a world where I have less freedom, fewer opportunities, fewer rights, and a markedly limited vision for my future, and for that of my son. And my niece?


What can I do about it? Vote. It's really all I can do. I can vote, I can encourage my friends to vote, my family, YOU. I can make sure I'm registered to vote (, I can make sure that my state hasn't passed some restrictive, “keep the poor and elderly away come election day” voter ID law, and I can figure out what I need to exercise my right to vote, should it turn out they have (

I believe in America, but, as more and more people hop on the "if it doesn't affect me, it doesn't matter" train, I'm finding it harder and harder to believe in Americans. Help me out with that. Inform yourself, seek your news and information from several sources on all sides of the political spectrum. Speak intelligently, don't encourage or tolerate obfuscation and slander. And for goodness sake, choose your candidate based upon his or her words, actions, vision, and character rather than looks, race, wealth, or religion.

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