Photo Credit: CrescentDebris on DeviantArt
I come from a very conservative Christian family. My parents are a part of the religious right, and cast their ballots accordingly. My siblings tend to be ignorant of, or indifferent to, political going ons. I often self identify as an independent, despite voting for democrats in many of the elections in which I've participated.
I used to be a Republican, I'm not anymore. The funniest thing about that shift, is that it had nothing to do with public policy, or rhetoric (in the traditional sense of the word), or many of the traditional markers of political ideology. It's that they were mean.
In college, I went to a meeting of the college republicans, I didn’t really know what that entailed; but I supposed that I was one, so I went. At the meeting, the topic of conversation was a woman who was coming to the campus to talk about women’s portrayal in media, specifically advertising. I was a little excited to hear what she had to say. The rest of the group…not so much. The focus of the meeting was this guest lecturer’s stated position on abortion. And actually, her position wasn’t on abortion. It was in defense of Planned Parenthood (which are two separate things, no matter what people say).
So, I’m sitting in the meeting listening to the group talk about discrediting the speaker on the issue of abortion. But, not just discrediting her in the Q & A. They were talking about handing out leaflets and disrupting the entire proceeding. I raised my hand, a superfluous gesture for a meeting such as this. They quieted and looked at me.
“What if she doesn’t talk about abortion?” I asked awkwardly.
“We’ll just force the issue.” The implied, “Duh,” at the end of that sentence, was almost audible. The group proceeded to brainstorm ways to embarrass, and fluster, and otherwise lay low the speaker. I was confused, and a little bit sad. She was coming to the school to talk about the issues surrounding women in media and advertising, real and troubling issues in the world today. But this group wanted to sabotage her presentation.
I couldn’t really wrap my head around the whole thing. The nature of the organization, I believed, was forward thinking within a political element. The chance to think within a party ideal, but with fresh eyes… I was wrong. The club spent that, and the remainder of the meetings which I attended, engaging in character assassinations, and overall meanness.
Three weeks later, I stopped attending the club meetings.
One semester later, I stopped self-identifying as a republican.
And now… I’m just floating around The Gray Area
Here's a thought: If you want to bring someone to your side of the aisle, don't be a meanie. To Anyone.