I often internally battle with myself regarding the standards of social media and how people fuel their (individual and collective) political fire by sharing on such platforms. I tend to lean on the moderate side of many political issues, but coming from San Diego, I find myself viciously liberal in terms of social justice topics. I’ve come to realize that I care a lot more than I would like to portray about how my elders view my use of social media. This “care” stems from being apart of a (ridiculously) huge family – being one of roughly 30 cousins – and also having to navigate the waters of millennial relationships (i.e. being Facebook friends with my boyfriend’s family).
Daily, I see people getting in aggressive arguments over their opinions – on display for their abundance of followers and “friends” to pick apart and judge silently (sometimes loudly). Daily, I see people posting collective pleas to stand tall and together in the face of LGTBQ+ rights, bullying, suicide, women’s health care initiatives, etc. While I attempt to ignore or hold my tongue (and mouse) and to not click the “share” button, I find myself extremely conflicted. Why you ask? Because while I find myself conservatively moderate in terms of political stances (hello??? do conservatives forget that we stand for less government intervention?), I also stand strong and tall for my moral and ethical values that seem to be unwillingly silenced by my inner conservative. When I see posts – such as “this person supports LGBTQ youth and will speak out against homophobia, transphobia, and bullying” – and I have the immediate urge to share – I then realize that there are many individuals who would take such and run with their wild judgements and uneducated stints. People who share such media (although it is positive in nature) are often associated with wild liberal political views and from my experience, looked down upon. Yet, I have such views and opinions, and while they may not align with other conservatives, I certainly do not categorize myself alongside many Nazi-liberals (I beg you to view the word Nazi without the negative connotation associated*) who flood my feeds.
*by definition: a person who seeks to impose their views on others in a very autocratic or inflexible way
That leads me to this blog post – which I will revisit so often – to remind myself of why I view the world through my rose-colored lenses. When I find myself having conversations with conservatives (many of which identify as religious), I often feel flat-lined in terms of my social opinions and beliefs. While I spent the majority of college spewing a message of “why does the world spend 90% of their energy on social change vs. political movement” – I realized that I must view political and social change as equals. While social issues ARE important, I’m fully aware that if we put our efforts equally into social and political issues we would then realize how little our population knows about politics. Which happens to be a perfect answer to my college-era question.
So for the first time, I am here to verbalize my social views and offer a big ol’ FUCK YOU to those who negate such opinions based solely on my age or “millennial ignorance.” I am both liberal and conservatives in my opinions – and that is allowed and justified. When I have a conversation about social-political issues with those who “abide” by religious standards, I often walk away feeling extremely misunderstood and unmotivated to fix it. While I know I am making a generalization (note I am acknowledging it before I am accused of not knowing it is such), most religiously fueled conservatives find the thought of the LGBTQ community (along with the many other strings of social issues they feel detrimental to our country’s success) atrocious and world-ending. Why? “Because of their religion.”
Let me map a discussion I’ve had recently, so as to clarify my stance.
Myself: “well, why do you think gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children?”
Grandfather: “because it is wrong! Those children will be pre-maturely exposed to gay tendencies and the Bible agrees! Those who act as gays will be punished, the Bible says so!”
*Enter ANYTHING remotely socially related in for gay, and this applies to many conversations.
Woof. Even typing it makes me dizzy.
I see it completely differently, despite the fact that I am a Godly woman.
My opinions differ due to finding myself compassionate and accepting of all walks of life. I refuse to regurgitate the Bible as the word of the Lord. Why? Because God did not write the Bible – you’d think that’s common knowledge by now. The Bible is a tool, a guide, and a blessing. But to live the words of the bible, is to live an ignorant and extremely fragile life. The Bible is to be used to teach. Which in turn implies one uses it to understand. The Bible teaches values and lessons – morals and ethics – lines to know better than to cross. My God is many things, one of which – a creator. A creator of all life and love. When I spend time thinking of those less fortunate, I find myself humbled knowing that there is nothing separating myself from them other than the body I was given (often referenced as privilege). So, Grandfather, using the same logic, there is no difference in your soul-being than the gay father I have in mind. As there is no difference between myself and a homeless child in Appalachia. My God does not make every decision – whether you choose to cheat on your wife, or live a life aligning with the morals and values taught – is not his problem or his responsibility. Our ability to make decisions was created by our divine creator. It is ours – yours – mine. My God teaches forgiveness, whether through own personal experiences or through teachings in the Bible. So when I ask a question, such as, “does your God punish love?” Your answer should always be no. Is there a need to forgive love? Absolutely not. Love should be celebrated – through all walks of life. Love is celebrated in my life. So when I find myself having discussions – fueled by some other God, but certainly not my own – I cannot help but wish to speak not about politics, but about the G-man. About living your live true to your morals and values – and acknowledging where they overlap and cause hypocrisy. It is in those areas of life, where you push yourself to understand why you believe so strongly. To commit to a life walking beside God, is to commit to understanding what feet came before you, and what feet will come after. It is understanding that “gay” is not a “new-age epidemic” but simply a style of love created by our divine.
I hope that my words resonate somewhere – but if not – they resonate in me. As my walk with God has been everything but easy – I would not walk alongside anyone else. I’ve attached my favorite story, which has changed and shaped my life since the first time I heard it at summer camp. The message has always resonated with me – and I hope maybe if my words do not fit, maybe these will.
“A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew closer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up, and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean. As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said “Good evening, Friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” our friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize it is probably happening on hundreds of other beaches all up and down the coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”
The local native smiled, bent down, and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
– Originated by “The Star Thrower”