By: Madelyn Starritt
Let’s talk about politics. No, not the name calling, whining, Democrats vs Republicans type of politics, but the nature of all political debates. The issues that we consider “politics” and how we fight over them not based on whether we think they are morally right or wrong but based on whether there is an “R” or a “D” next to the issue.
We treat these things like a game with winners and losers. But politics is more than a game, it is people’s lives. The “losers” in these situations will deal with more than their hurt pride, the laws and decisions made in politics change lives for better and for worse, this is something that should be taken seriously, not played with like a game.
I am not talking about being upset because your candidate didn’t get elected or because someone from the opposite party was. I am talking about human rights issues that get devalued by simply being labeled as just another political issue to argue about.
Issues like the refugee crisis or what many have referred to as the “Muslim Ban”. Like the right to marry, use a public restroom, or have access to basic healthcare. Things like our basic human rights. And even our basic constitutional rights like the right to protest and freedom of speech. These are just a few of the many.
Of course, these are more complex than right or wrong, and do we deserve this or not. Most everything that we make laws about is going to be political in nature and some issues are more complex than others. Everyone has an opinion and their own wants about every issue and it is up to politicians and lawmakers to meet these voter needs and make people happy as best they can.
It is not easy to work in the world of politics. People are judged on whether they are a Democrat or Republican instead of on their ideas and work. No matter what good work they do, someone will always be against them, constantly criticizing everything they do.
Through all this madness it can be easy to forget that these are more than just political issues to fight over, against, and for. But, these are things that seriously affect the lives of people, issues that many have to battle in their daily lives. It may not be you, or someone you know but it is someone. Just because we don’t know someone or their experiences doesn’t mean their life or their rights are less valuable than ours.
Like many Americans, I have an opinion about these issues I mentioned and probably more. I am not here to justify that opinion or try to get others to think and feel the same as I do. I am not here to have a political argument about specific issues. I am here to remind you that these things can change the lives of actual people. To urge to keep this in mind the next time you are arguing about how we should regulate other people’s lives. Because as we are arguing about these things in our comfortable homes filled with food there is someone dying from cancer because she can’t afford healthcare, a starving parent because they can only afford food with the little amount of government assistance they get each month, there are people in Syria terrified because they have nowhere to go. There are also people trying to abuse the laws and the system, to manipulate things for their own personal gain.
No matter what is happening in other parts of the world, or even our own cities, we are going to want to take care of ourselves first. We should take care of ourselves and do our best to meet our own needs because that is how we survive. The reality is, we can’t save everyone and there is always going to be someone in an unfortunate situation.
So, let’s be respectful of this, show love and respect to these people instead of pity. Let’s not continue to dehumanize these very human issues. Let’s not argue over things that will detrimentally affect others’ lives like its nothing. Like their lives don’t matter as much as ours.
I am not asking anyone to change their views. There are good reasons people have for believing one way or another. I am asking to keep in mind that our decisions have consequences, that everyone deserves respect, that the things we say and do are impactful. So, next time think about these consequences before calling someone names because they believe differently than you or because you do or don’t want something to happen. Think about these things seriously and have thoughtful discussions about them because these are serious issues with serious impacts.