"Before you try and change anyone's mind, you have to ask yourself if they're even open at all to having their mind changed. If they're not, sometimes the best you can do is agree to disagree."
- my brother Joe (paraphrased)
|New goal: six blog posts a week. You heard it here first!|
On one hand, I really didn't want to write anything about the election in this blog. While I have strong opinions on the state of politics today, I've almost universally found that debating about it doesn't bring me any pleasure. I have a lot of momentum writing about Misfit Cords, and I originally didn't want to break that story up just for the sake of weighing in on the same thing that everyone else is weighing in on.
Upon reflection, I can't really stay away from it. Donald Trump getting elected president is a huge deal. I believe it will end up going down as one of the most historically relevant things that I'll live through, and so I kind of feel like I owe it to the accuracy of this blog to share how I feel about politics and America today.
HUGE DISCLAIMER - all of this is me sharing my opinions and the reasons that I have them. When it comes to debating politics, I choose whether or not to engage people on a case-by-case basis. If I think that people are open-minded to hearing about my beliefs, I'll share mine, and more often than not I'll ask about theirs. If not - that's fine, we can talk about other things and agree to disagree, and you're encouraged to skip the rest of this blog post.
I'm going to open with some videos from three of my favorite stand-up comedians, saying things that more or less overlap with my own feelings. I think humor is a wonderful thing to embrace in times like these, and the best comics are the ones who manage to be funny while still having things to say. They're not required viewing but I promise that they're entertaining, and while none of them is a 100% carbon copy of my opinion, I'll own the fact that I think that all of them make very valid and relevant points.
Ultimately, I think that long-term solution for America is to improve our actual systems of government rather than hoping that elected officials fix things from within. My personal opinion is that we're entering a new era of human history where (a) anyone can connect with anyone and (b) all information is available for free, which means that (c) people, especially millennials who (more than ever) feel cheated by the older generations, are going to start to question the value of answering to an authority figure that they don't respect. Of the three, I identify with Brand's optimism and belief that a solution to all of this is possible.
Sometimes Stanhope can get a bit vulgar or misogynistic and he's the first to admit his act isn't for everyone, but he's made a ton of individual good points throughout this career that I completely agree with. And he's hilarious. His act was the first convincing argument for Libertarian philosophy that I had ever heard. When you get down to it, America is just (a) imaginary lines and (b) a government - why pledge blind allegiance to it in a world where anyone can talk with anyone and form actual personal connections?
I heard this quote from George Carlin back when I was experiencing peak frustration with politics during the Democratic primaries of this year, and it resonated with me. Everything got so polarized, especially on social media, and it was affecting my ability to stay positive in my day-to-day life. The slow melt from youthful idealism into experienced cynicism was happening to me, and I didn't like it. That was the reason I started blogging. I'd rather focus on the actual events in my own life I can control in a direct and meaningful way, instead of the current events in the news, which I can't.
And honestly, after writing all of that out, I don't really feel like I have much more to say on the matter. I think that Trump being elected is a bad thing, but I don't gain any pleasure out of casting blame or predicting worst-case scenarios. From here on out, my only real contribution to the political discussion is going to be how I plan to help others affected by it.
In other words: making America great again is a little bit out of my scope. All I can do is try to make Shelly great and encourage other people to do the same for themselves. And I'll do that regardless of who the president is.
|My friend Mikey and I seeing Roger Waters perform "The Wall" back in 2010. Floor seats!|
I'm fully aware of the impact this election is going to have on LGBT rights. I've spent the entire time since I transitioned feeling confident in the idea that being transgender was going in the direction of being socially acceptable, and I can see where the results of this election might send the message to intolerant people that it's all right to be openly shitty to people because of their labels. I haven't figured out what I'm specifically going to do just yet, but the last thing I'm going to do is just sit there quietly while that happens.
The original goal of this blog was to humanize my experiences to help end certain stigmas. Now, more than ever, I see this as important work. I began my transition back in 2007 and it was the best choice I ever made - not only did it allow me to experience self-esteem and confidence for the first time in my life, but the trials and tribulations associated with making those changes made me a much stronger person as a result.
As it stands right now I'm going to put out feelers - I am a confident, outspoken, happy transwoman who enjoys public speaking, isn't shy, and wants to help people so if anyone knows anyone who knows a person or organization who could use help from someone like me, please share my blog with them! I'd actually love to publicly debate, either live or online, with someone who actively believes that it's sinful or harmful to be transgender.