I know a lot of people who know a LOT about politics. Say a word about the government in front of my step-dad and he’ll start talking so fast, it’ll make your head spin. Not only that but everything he’ll say will be so convincing and intelligently crafted that you’ll be immediately swayed by his conviction alone. My “third dad” Peter Von Mayrhauser has been known to start arguments with strangers in airports about politics, backing up his opinions with hours upon hours of fact based evidence supporting those opinions. Alan Cumming? Danny Burstein? Hal Prince? Not only are they incredible talents, but they are also extremely passionate liberals with lots to say about what they believe. These people are convincing, not that I ever needed it.
I grew up in a home where musicals were like sacred texts. The Tony’s were like the super bowl and Barbra Streisand’s words were scripture. When people made liberal jokes I laughed, not realizing there were people who didn’t agree. I guess I thought extreme conservatives were theoretical. There weren’t truly humans who hated gay people. There couldn’t be people who honestly believed guns were an answer to…well anything. I don’t know if I had met a republican (except my grandparents who are the fake, old-school kind that now love Obama), until I went to college.
During my first year at college, I finally started to encounter people who had different opinions than I did. I got there right at the time when Maine was voting on “question 1” which said, “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” I was shocked to know that this was a question which had to be asked. From a young age, my mom had told me bedtime stories where the children had two mommies or two daddies. Many of the people who helped raise me were in monogamous homosexual relationships. Was this something people had to think twice about?
I rarely have trouble arguing for equal rights when it comes to loving who you choose. However, I did have trouble defending my other left-leaning beliefs with these people. Up until this point, I had my crew to fight for me. If there was a (theoretical) conservative opposing me, I would have just said “sic ’em boys” and my well-spoken and well-read friends and family would handle the disagreement. But after leaving home, I was left to fend for myself and it suddenly became much more difficult to intelligently and succinctly argue my opinion.
I’ve found this to be true even now that I’ve returned to my liberal safe haven of New York City. Sometimes it seems that social media exploits people’s stupidity (perhaps those of you reading this think that’s what’s happening to me right now!) I read idiotic facebook posts about people who have rifles in their closets that “never killed no one” and yet I have nothing to say back. This happens to me quite often, I know exactly how I feel and what I want to say, and yet I can’t articulate my thoughts in a meaningful way. Perhaps this is one of the huge disadvantages of growing up in a community that thinks primarily the same way I do.
I suppose there are a few morals to this story:
- We should all get off facebook and go read a book.
- We (I) should learn to articulate my beliefs independent of my highly educated and intelligent friends.
- If all else fails I’ll just say “sic ’em boys”.