After a long hiatus due to blog and Social Justice Burnout, I've returned to writing and rebel-rousing in a big-neon-light-circus-organ-giant-blinking-arrow sort of way. I've also been a lot more vocal on Facebook, posting articles about topics I'm passionate about, along with what I consider brief and level-headed commentary. Several of my friends are also very passionate about progressive politics, and we have good back and forth conversations. Occasionally, though, I'll get the person who asks "Why bother" or "why care" or "why do you get so darn mad all the time?" or even "are you looking for things to get offended over?"
I didn't think I had made it any big secret that I am passionate about writing, progressive politics, social justice, and journalism. Anyone who has known me online or in person for longer than, oh, five minutes should be able to pick up on that. I've been an activist since around age twelve, and I am loudly passionate. (That's what she said, amirite???) But since this is becoming a point of contention, here's why I am so darn annoying (or cute - maybe?) in a nutshell:
#1: I enjoy hearing other folks' perspectives, and other folks enjoy hearing mine
Maybe this is part narcissism (and really, what part of blogging isn't?) but I've had folks tell me they enjoy my insights and that I've made them think about a particular topic in a new way. I have friends from all walks of life, and I appreciate it when they share their opinion about big political and religious topics. Sometimes I agree with them in full - sometimes I agree with them in part - and sometimes I disagree with them with every fiber of my being. Even the latter I appreciate, if only because it lets me see the mindset of another facet of an issue or even just firms up my own beliefs.
#2: I appreciate getting new information and perspective on issues
I would want to know if one of my favorite companies supported something I vehemently disagree with...say, Company X supports putting all gay folks on a desert island. Hearing how a group I'm not a part of interacts with my favorite bits of pop culture leads me to have a deeper and richer relationship with that pop culture, like the critiques of Doctor Who from POCs and folks with visible disabilities. Even seeing events that happen hundreds of miles away but involve my identity in some form are important to me. Part of this may come from my journalism news-junkie background, but I enjoy new information. I appreciate it when my friends led me to new information, and I like returning the favor.
#3: I am a part of groups that are marginalized by society, and I feel empathy and solidarity for marginalized groups I'm not a part of
I have been treated poorly and experienced discrimination at various points in my life because I grew up working poor, because of my sexuality, because of my mental illness, and because of my gender. So when I see these things being the basis of ignorant stereotypes or as the butt of jokes, you better believe I get defensive. When I see news stories about violence towards people with disabilities, about legislation unfairly impacting poor people, about people justifying their bias against LGBTQ* folks with their religion, I get made because they are talking about me at one point in my life or in the present. And even when it's not "about me," I still feel these emotions. When I see transphobic or racist things in society, they still make me mad because all forms of oppression takes root in the same evil cesspool. (an even more succinct version of this is Flavia Dzodan's "my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!")
My activism and passion for social justice go hand in hand with my faith. Based on my own experiences and my own biblical literacy, I feel like God calls me to care. In scripture after scripture, Christ calls his followers to care for widows and orphans, to sell our possessions and give the funds to the poor, to treat immigrants as your family, to forgive debt (both emotional and literal), to love everyone, to champion the underdog and to give a voice to the outsider. So when I am sharing news story X about subject Y, it's because I feel a moral duty to give the folks involved with subject Y a louder voice. And especially when I see a news story about a church in Podunk USA being racist, or Big Name Christian Celebrity saying something misogynist, or someone claiming their bigotry as being a tenant of their faith, I am charged by scripture to speak out in loving anger and say, "This is not my Christianity." And for those of you who say that anger and politics have no place in Christianity, I beg you to read the story of Jesus and the money-handlers again.
#5: Everyone has their passion
Here's a parable of my own. Teenager Molly Bandit use to make fun of people who were into sports or hunting. She teased them mercilessly and called them idiots for sinking what she considered obscene amounts of money into sports gear, paintball equipment, or hunting supplies. Years passed, and she didn't think about it until one day she made her first significant investment in tabletop RPG gaming and someone made fun of her. Suddenly, she realized why someone would spend $150 on a paintball gun, and she felt like a real jackass. All this is to say that everyone has their passion, and some folks will find that passion annoying if they don't share it. My political posts are your daily pictures of your Yorkie, your fantasy football stats, your play-by-play of the Walking Dead, or even your "I'm bored at work" updates. My anger toward a racist piece of pop culture is your anger toward the DMV. If you're adamant that everyone else is annoying and you do nothing.... well, probably your constant insistence of doing nothing is getting on my last nerve before my second cup of coffee this morning.
So for those of you that facetiously or seriously ask me why, that's why. Sorry there's no TL;DR - I honestly don't think there's much use for politics that can be summed up in TL;DRs (aka Bumper Sticker Beliefs).
This is, of course, assuming that "why" was a genuine question and not a passive-aggressive dig. If that's the case, then life is too damn short. Seriously. If reading what I write causes you constant annoyance, do us both a favor and find something you're passionate about to pay attention to instead. Passive-aggression is a plague of negative energy, energy which could be sent into the world as passion, even if it's over Instagram food photos, cataloging minerals, or ultimate frisbee.