Yeah, I know.
For the people who know me, this is utterly impossible to believe.
I mean, have you seen my Facebook feed? I’m clearly an outspoken, political person. I have so much to say about politics all the time. So much so, in fact, that it’s become second nature. If I catch even a whiff of what seems like a potential political debate, I will jump in head first and often scare everyone else away in my zeal.
Yet I absolutely, utterly, and completely abhor politics.
Politics is disgusting and dirty. Thinking about it is depressing and is surely no help for my already really bad anxiety issues. It’s probably really unhealthy for me to be political. I can actually totally understand why so many people, especially younger people, just don’t care. I completely understand the apathy so many people have surrounding politics, because the reality is, it’s just exhausting.
So then you’re probably wondering why I’m political. And it’s a completely fair question. If I hate politics as much as I do, why am I so outspoken about my politics?
And do you want to know the horrible answer?
Because I have no choice.
And you want to know something even more horrible?
Neither do you.
Again, this goes back to when I first realized I was an atheist. After my experiences in Georgia, atheism became the first issue I really cared about. I encountered so much hatred after going public with it (on my Facebook, mostly, which was open to the public at the time… now the public bits are what I choose to make public, and the rest goes to friends only) that it became my first real political cause… online, at least.
When one’s eyes are opened to one political issue, one is forced to confront politics as a whole… whether one wants to or not.
And quite by accident (and sometimes kicking and screaming), I was forced to confront other political realities, until I eventually reached the startling conclusion I already mentioned above: politics is inescapable.
The very act of being alive is itself a political act, simply because politics permeates everything we do. We cannot escape it at all. Not even God is as pervasive in society as politics is. Politics is truly omnipresent… and there’s nothing we can do about it. There is simply no such thing as not being political.
So let’s start with something that really does seem completely innocuous:
How can the act of eating be political? It’s actually very simple: all food you buy has some sort of brand name. All brands are backed by a business or corporation. Sometimes they are small or even tiny, family-owned businesses. Sometimes they are giant, publically traded corporations. But in all cases, because we live in a Capitalist environment, all businesses, no matter how big or small, are political, in one way or another.
Consider, for example, Chick-Fil-A.
Chick-Fil-A is a very popular fast food chain with some incredible chicken. I still insist, to this day, that Chick-Fil-A has the greatest chicken biscuits ever. I’ve never had chicken biscuits any better than the ones at Chick-Fil-A… at least, so far…
So here’s where it becomes political:
How do you feel about homosexuality? Do you not have much of a problem with it? Are you pretty cool with same sex marriage? Do you not get the big deal? They’re people to, right?
Chick-Fil-A’s Charitable Arm Gave Nearly $2 Million To Anti-Gay Groups In 2010
WinShape Is Chick-Fil-A’s Charitable Arm. The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A’s charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984. WinShape has received a substantial amount of funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2010 alone, WinShape received $8,067,161 from Chick-fil-A Inc. [WinShape 2010, Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 6/27/12]
WinShape Gave Over $1.9 Million To Anti-Gay Groups. In 2010, WinShape donated $1,974,380 to a number of anti-gay groups:
- ·Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
- ·Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
- ·National Christian Foundation: $247,500
- ·New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000
- ·Exodus International: $1,000
- ·Family Research Council: $1,000
- ·Georgia Family Council: $2,500
[Winshape 2010 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 6/27/12]
Does that chicken biscuit still taste good? Do you still want to eat at Chick-Fil-A, while knowing that your money is being spent by these people on homophobia?
Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes (which is also “I don’t care”) or no, is a political answer.
And BTW… what do you think of Sabra Hummus? Think it’s good?
I practically grew up on the stuff. I have heard from so many people that it’s gross hummus, and I won’t deny that I’ve found much better hummus, especially homemade, but Sabra will always have a soft spot in my heart as a memory of great times with my family.
On a related note… how much do you know about the situation in the Middle East? I would hope you know something about it, especially since World War III is staring us in the face and the Middle East is where it will start. So how much do you know about Israel and Palestine? Do you support or oppose that Gaza Blockade? How about the settlements? What about the IDF?
You can’t afford to not care about it, because lives are at stake and, make no mistake… this situation will affect you, if it doesn’t already.
Did you know that one of the joint owners of Sabra, the Strauss group, is an Israeli company that actively supports the IDF?
Are you cool with that? Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes (which is also “I don’t care”) or no, is a political answer.
And on another related note, what do you think of Sodastream, which lets you make your own soda conveniently at home? Did you buy one? Do you want to buy one?
Did you know that the Sodastream company has a plant in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank… one of the many settlements that international law considers to be illegal? Do you consider those settlements to be illegal, or do you think they are perfectly legal?
Do you still want to buy a Sodastream? Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes (which is also “I don’t care”) or no, is a political answer.
So let’s move on to something else: clothes.
What do you think of clothes made by Abercrombie & Fitch? Do you own any? Do you find them stylish and comfortable? Or perhaps they’re not to your taste?
What if I told you that Abercrombie & Fitch is a company that is deliberately sexist, racist, and fat-shaming in its advertising?
Bad press seems to be nothing new for Abercrombie & Fitch. They are know for being terrible. Stores allow white employees to work the front house while Asians, African Americans, and people with prosthetics work in the back, away from customers. There have been numerous lawsuits against the brand for religious discrimination and discrimination against handicapped customers. The new following statements made by A&F CEO Mike Jeffries really shouldn’t be seen as anything new.
Jeffries has said that his marketing technique is:
“We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Jeffries also believes that limiting the sizes in stores would prevent his brand from becoming less desirable. Jeffries said in an interview with Salon:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
How do you feel about Abercrombie & Fitch now? Do you still want to wear their clothes? Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes (which is also “I don’t care”) or no, is a political answer.
I think the controversies surrounding Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are familiar to most people now, as well.
So let’s go with perhaps the most innocent thing of all: sleep.
And now you balk. I can see it already, because yes, this seems, on the face of it, patently ridiculous. Sleep, a biological function that everybody needs, cannot, in any way, be political.
And yet it is.
Those hours that you lay your head on your pillow and fall into a sweet dream or horrible nightmare are hours in which you are not spending money.
Think about it.
We live in a Capitalist society. Our economy is 100% dependent on consumers consuming products by spending money.
Sure, the bed you’re sleeping in had to be paid for, either by you or someone else, as well as the pillow(s) you’re using and the sheets and blankets. That bedroom your in is in a house or apartment that you or somebody else paid or is paying for. There’s the electricity and A/C or Heater being used, as well. (All this is, of course, assuming you’re not homeless; that you have somewhere to sleep that isn’t a park bench or an alleyway… and that, of course, only adds yet another political dimension to frickin’ sleep.)
And yet, while you sleep, you are not out and about spending money. You are, effectively, boycotting the economy for a set few hours. Is it a political boycott?
Yes. Yes it is.
Because by not spending money, you are actually denying the economy that money you could have been spending instead. You are deliberately not being a direct consumer during that time.
Does this boycott have an effect?
Not measurably, no. Because you will get up later and in all likelihood go out to be a good consumer yet again.
But yet, for a few blissful hours, you are not spending money.
Now imagine if that happened throughout the whole country… that there was no such thing as overnights, and everyone went to bed and woke up at relatively the same times. I guarantee you that this would have a massive effect on the economy. Eight or so hours where no money was being spent whatsoever?
So yeah… we live in a society where even the act of sleeping is a political act.
Do you still want to sleep? Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes (which is also “I don’t care”) or no, is a political answer.
And there are so many things I didn’t discuss, such as family units, deciding whether or not to have children, choosing your career path, choosing which car to buy (or even whether or not to buy a car), filling your car with gas, listening to music and what music you listen to, watching TV and what shows you watch, what you do in your spare time, your favorite sports, your religious beliefs, what school(s) you go to…
And so it becomes obvious… politics is inescapable. You cannot not be political. We all really have zero choice in the matter.
The only choice you really have is what politics you’re going to support.
In the interest of neutrality, I really can’t tell you what to support.
But as a Socialist, I have to tell you:
Apathy supports stagnation. Stagnation means no change, and even moving backwards. This is what both the Democrats and Republicans want. If you’re okay with that, then choose between Democrat or Republican and go vote.
But as a Socialist, I have to beg you… don’t be okay with that. Don’t support stagnation. Don’t be apathetic.
Otherwise you will one day find yourself in a situation you never planned to be in, a situation that cannot in any way, shape, or form, be to your advantage.
So please, be political, if only because you have no other choice. Your future in the USA depends entirely on your politics.
And don’t you care about your future? Because your answer to this question, whether it’s yes or no, is a political answer.