We deserve more than whataboutism and righteous indignation
I’ve been intentionally quiet for several years politically. Mostly because I think politics are toxic and I’m still dealing with a decade or so of baggage in that area. Also, somewhere along the way, I decided that the best way to create change was to raise kids who are kind and brave and fierce. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
Also, to be completely transparent, I just don’t know if I have anything of value to offer anymore.
I have had so many thoughts clanging around in my head lately. Most of them feel inadequate and ridiculous, but I need to try to formulate some sort of thought surrounding the last few months. I tried to wait until I could say something hopeful, but I am not sure if I can. So I’ll try honesty.
Since some of you will be curious, I have been politically homeless for years. I don’t vote anymore. You can judge me on that if you want to, but you also can’t accuse me of being “for the other guy.” I have my reasons and they are real.
My work background is libertarian politics. I worked on a lot of campaigns. I wrote a lot of commentary and fought a lot of fights. Every single politician I ever supported disappointed me. They always will, because they are human and because DC is a giant machine that one person alone cannot reform. No matter how much you like them. No matter how good their ideas are. In a way, I have found that comforting because that also means there’s only so much damage one person can do.
It also doesn’t matter how woke you think you are — your experience is limited. What you know and understand about other people is limited. When I look around right now, all I see is hurt people. Racial hurt. Economic hurt. Grief and fear and uncertainty and frustration. Distrust in every single institution. I see people that aren’t heard screaming and aching and begging to be listened to. And I see a lot of people saying that they aren’t worth listening to.
And whichever side you think I’m talking about, the answer is yes.
There are a lot of things that I don’t understand. I don’t understand the depth of racial hurt because I am a white woman. I don’t understand the pain of losing everything to a pandemic because we have been incredibly fortunate. But what I DO understand is that it is unbelievably painful to struggle and feel marginalized and unheard — and even moreso to have people label you as violent or crazy or dramatic when you try to communicate.
Yes, there are actual violent and crazy people. Yes, there has to be accountability. Yes, our president is an objectively harmful person at this point. But “our riot wasn’t as bad as your riot” is not the way. Whataboutisms and censorship and empty statements of support or dismissal from businesses and “leaders” are all meaningless and are clouding the conversations that have to happen to heal.
It feels too optimistic to say that we need to listen to one another and hold hands and come together. There are people on both sides who wish their opposition was dead, or at least buried somewhere that they can’t see them. That is not something that will be changed without time and repentance and Jesus.
I sat there on January 6th with all of you, watching my old city burn down. My old office was across the street. I know people in that building. I hurt and I worried and I wondered what it meant to raise kids in this. I wondered about our future and what our reality will be on my next birthday — because it sure looks different now than it did a year ago.
I guess I hope we rebuild. That we dismantle the institutions that are harmful. That we seize this painful and hard crossroads as an opportunity to make something different and better.
In the meantime, take care of your families and your mental health and do not forget that you are still living your life. Waiting for things to be “normal” is robbing you of time and growth. Move forward however you can, because things are not going to look the same on the other side and you need to still be whole.