Politics Is Personal

Last week, I shared a goofy post comparing kids to politicians. I didn’t take a side, at least not one that isn’t anti-kids or anti-politicians, but I did attach an old e-card to the post that took aim at Republicans.

Which turned out to be unfortunate – but not because I am a Republican. (When it comes to party affiliation, I have none; I’m registered as an independent, although I am pretty staunchly liberal.) It’s unfortunate because many people who saw the e-card couldn’t see anything else and quickly got mad at me for mocking the GOP.

But they mostly got upset that I was discussing politics on my Facebook page and on my website. Apparently, politics doesn’t have a place on a parenting page or a humor page.

Yeah. That’s bullshit.

It’s bullshit for several reasons:

  1. It’s my page. I can post and write and share what I want. If you don’t like it, that’s okay. Ignore it, unfollow me, tell me off in the comments, that’s fine. I’m putting myself out there, I know the risks, I like the give-and-take. We don’t always have to agree.
  2. Politics can be plenty funny. I totally agree with one commenter whose problem with my posts wasn’t a partisan one – she didn’t object to my stance, she merely finds all politics these days distasteful and disheartening and toxic, which they are. But they can be funny too, and the hilarity is not specific to either party. It’s the process, the people, and the farcical ineptitude of it all. If you consider my page to be humor-based, then I see no problem with the occasional political joke.

That said, whether you find my page – or my blog, or my Twitter, or my Instagram – funny or not, there’s no denying that it’s about parenting. But parenting is about everything. And if you don’t think politics – particularly a presidential race, particularly this presidential race – are relevant to your life as a parent, or to your kids’ lives, then you need to get your head out of your ass. trump, politics, flag, hillary, parenting, dad and buried, parenthood, president, election

Does healthcare affect your life? Women’s rights? Gun laws? All of those things are on the line right now, and regardless of how you feel about them, they are all parenting issues. No, they’re not especially funny, but they are important and they do impact my life and the life of my children, so I occasionally feel the need to discuss them. You don’t have to like it, and you are free to unfollow all of my accounts. You’re even free to keep bitching and being ignorant! Bitch away; I’ll continue to use my blog and its associated social media accounts the way I see fit. (Oddly enough, my “serious” posts are usually my most popular, whether they cover vaccinations, allergies, gender issues, gun control, fear, etc.)

Over the weekend, I posted a photo of a “House of Cards”-themed pint glass (that I got as a member of the Netflix Stream Team). The glass shows the image of an upside-down flag, which is typically meant to be used by soldiers to convey “dire distress”. That’s according to the U.S. Flag Code, as I was informed by a commenter who was angry that I captioned it with a joke about how I’ll use it all the time if Trump is elected President. This led to a brief discussion in which I defended my and ignorant joke by saying something that I truly believe: that a Trump presidency does put our soldiers, and our country, and all of us, in dire distress.

(And maybe you think a Hillary Clinton presidency does the same, and that’s fine. I disagree – even if she’s corrupt and terrible, she’s corrupt and terrible in pretty much the exact same way that every politician is corrupt and terrible whereas Trump is an unqualified, thin-skinned, narcissistic, misogynistic, xenophobic, and bigoted bully and loose cannon, and that’s far more dangerous – but either way, feel free to share how you feel on your parenting page. It’s your right. As a citizen who is worried about his/her country, it’s practically your duty.)

The commenter replied that my life won’t change based on who becomes the next president, so I should just relax. And maybe she’s right. As a white, middle-class American man, my life may not change all that much. But if we’re to take Trump at his incendiary, fear-mongering word (which, elastic as it is, might be tough; maybe we should just look to his hateful, opportunistic character), life will change for millions of people. Ignoring the potential impact a Trump Presidency will have on them merely because it doesn’t impact you personally – even just having the ability to ignore it – strikes me as the very definition of privilege.

I may not be directly impacted by it, but it would be catastrophic for women, Mexicans, Muslims, and any other number of people in this country and around the world. The next president will also be appointing multiple justices to the supreme court; even if you think the Commander-in-Chief has been largely neutered in this fractious political environment, justices stand for life. Our kids and even our grand-kids will be affected by their decisions. Plus, the President will have the nuclear codes. I could be one of the 1% – hell, I could be in the Illuminati – hiding in the shadows, secretly pulling strings and living above the law – and that would affect me!

trump, rape culture, victim blaming, shaming, women, gender, politics, flag, hillary, parenting, dad and buried, parenthood, president, election, locker room talk, billy bushI should sit by and pretend I don’t care? Just because my page doesn’t usually tackle this stuff? Sorry, that’s not how I roll.

Frankly, it would be wrong for me to sit idly by and not use my “platform,” meager as it is and incongruous as it may seem, to attempt to sway people – as unlikely as that is in this ridiculously partisan and increasingly ignorant atmosphere – this dangerous clown. Even at the cost of hundreds of followers, cluing just one person in would be worth it.

So yeah, I’m going to speak out when I feel the need to, and sometimes that means I’m going to put political stuff on my parenting page, and that I’m occasionally going to get serious on my humor site.

In fact, we’ve probably been joking about this campaign for far too long. To paraphrase President Obama, “Don’t joke. Vote.”


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12 thoughts on “Politics Is Personal

  1. You make an excellent point that the appointment of Supreme Court justices will have long lasting impact on the most important people in our lives: Our kids. That is the long-term risk of electing someone as unstable as Trump and it scares the hell out of me. However, today, on my son’s first birthday, I see an equally daunting short-term threat under Trump. I have worked myself to the bone for the first year of my kid’s life (as I can tell from your blog you have as well) to figure out how to set an example for him about what kind of man (well, human, really) I want him to become. I struggle with it every day. I catch myself re-framing how I interact with him and people around me constantly so that I can show him my best self, our best selves. I started taking him to non-profit board meetings when he was three weeks old because, hey, couldn’t hurt. I take him to church, I let him “co-host” charity events with me, I take him to political fundraisers, I make sure that he is surrounded by good and decent people because I want him to be a good and decent person. I also want him to be smart. I want him to understand how the world really works, including politics. Which means I have to explain to him that the person that comes through that television, the person that stands behind that podium bearing the Presidential Seal is the MOST powerful person in the ENTIRE world, and that this country put that person there. How how HOW can I explain to my young son (who will be as old as five and a half during the next presidential term, and therefore of an age of constant questions and some serious profound toddler-logic moments) that we, the citizens of the (already, thank you very much) greatest country on earth elected a weak, petulant, hateful bully to literally run the world for four years? How does that lesson translate? “Honey, sometimes when people are very angry they make big mistakes that they regret for a very long time. We’ll just have to wait it out until we can get someone more reasonable to take his place”? I just can’t wrap my head around how I explain a Trump presidency to him for four years. I can’t and I won’t. I will vote, I will campaign, I will fight and I will use my platform to do everything I can to make sure he’s defeated. I applaud you for doing the same thing

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  5. Keep sharing your beliefs and opinions. I love it! My wife turned me onto this page, and as a husband and father of 4 very young children, I 100% agree with your stance.

    This election cycle is a joke. I wish the Dems put up a different candidate. But I’m an adult entirely capable of making a choice between porridge and shit stew.

    I don’t like either but I can certainly choose the better one.

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  8. Thank you for this post. Perhaps I am saying that because I believe exactly as you do. I feel it is very important to use any means we have to get the word out there before it is too late. I see an eroding of my rights already, to say nothing of all the immigrants at the airports! I have been trying to explain this to some Trump voters and they do not understand, or pretend not too. This is not your usual run-of-the-mill President or situation. It is a time to be heard, voice your belief in the Constitution. The time is now, not after we have lodt all our rights, by then it is to late.

  9. Yes to all of that. A family friend admonished my husband for talking to our kids about politics and the current political climate, and my husband’s response was, in my biased opinion, perfect: he said that it is his job as a father to teach our kids to THINK, not to think in any certain way, and he makes sure to emphasize that in every discussion we have, AND that if he doesn’t talk to them about it now, how will they ever understand it on their own later? So yeah, politics is a part of parenting. As it should be.

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