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Monday, September 29, 2008


"So, how's your writing going?"

There was a sense of annoyance in my Dad's voice as he looked for a way to change the subject. He was trying to be nice but it was obvious that my protests had hit a nerve.

I guess there's only so much politics a person can take and I've got good lungs - let alone a big mouth.

I talk with my hands too, so... yeah, there's that.

Needless to say, the rest of that conversation was short - though, in my defense, he was the one who brought up politics.

I think I should start wearing a disclaimer on my forehead or something.

"Do not ask me about the following:"

I can't help but find it interesting though - at least in the conversations I've had, especially with my own family (and not just my dad) - how their eyes seem to glaze over when politics comes up. Especially Canadian politics.

Is it a learned response? Or something bred into us from a young age?

Sometimes I wonder.

Still, I realize that there's only so long I can stand there before the soapbox collapses around me - though, admittedly, I wouldn't feel the need to 'soapbox' if I'd had the sense that the people in my everyday goings-on, let alone the people I care about, were aware of and understood the situation we're in and the importance of our upcoming election. (October 14th!)

I mean, if they were apprised and chose to do nothing - hey, at least then they're making an informed decision. I wouldn't like it, but I'd respect it.

Unfortunately, that doesn't happen. Every time those conversations start I see those same glazed eyes and hear the same half-hearted answers: "meh, they're all crooks anyway" or "the system is fucked" or "my vote doesn't matter" or (and this is my favourite) "I can't be bothered".

And nothing gets under my skin like that last statement. Drives me absolutely up the fucking wall. People died for our right to vote - people are still fighting and dying the world over for our right to vote - and...

Well, it's an argument and a rant I'm sure you've heard a thousand times so I'll spare you the replay.

The worst feeling in the world is having belly full of fire and no idea how best to utilize it. I mean, sure I rant and rail, I write letters, I get out there and talk to people, I join groups and get involved.

But then I hear my own family tell me that I'm wasting my time...

And I wonder what the hell I'm doing if I can't even reach them.

I mean, boiling blood and anger aside, there's a lot of condensation to wipe off behind these eyes.

How do I fight ignorance when the defense is apathy? Even worse, when my own kin don't even understand why they're apathetic? Just the same tired, old excuses regurgitated from familiar mouths.

Yet the moment I try and change those perceptions the eyes glaze and the jaw slackens - or, if I start to make sense, annoyance kicks in. As if by telling them the facts and showing them physical data, somehow I'm the threat.

No wonder the people I look up to and respect seem weary and jaded, they've been trying to do this for years, long before it became an 'election issue'. I look at them, still fighting the fight as best they can - while trying to make a living in an industry under siege - and I feel ashamed that I ever thought their silence meant acceptance.

As Karen ever-so-patiently tried to tell me: With experience comes caution and control.

Man. No wonder it takes a special breed of person to be a mentor. It must be hard to see us all riled up having already trod that path, sending out warnings and cautions knowing they won't be listened to.

Yet no matter how hard I try to listen and hold back, sometimes I'm just reactionary like that; especially when it comes to those I'm close to.

When it feels important, like it matters - like it should matter to them - and they can't even bother to listen or take it seriously, that's when the belly flares.

And it hurts to care when it feels like the people I love don't. It makes me feel like I'm forced into action, like I need that soapbox, like I need to fight - fight for them even if they don't understand why.

Maybe that's my folly.

But if that's what it is then I accept it. For I know in my heart it's something that's unlikely to go away. Rather, it's something to harness and focus. Something I've got to get control of 'cause it's obvious that apathy and ignorance are not going anywhere any time soon.

And neither am I.


1 comment:

Cherelleski said...

Been there. It sucks. Few things are as painful(or short-lived) as a discussion about politics with my parents. I was quite happy to hear my mom say that she was an Obama supporter, until I asked her why. Apparently, McCain is "old and ugly".
That was it. She likes Obama because his skin colour is similar to hers, and the other guy is ugly. She knows NOTHING about his platform, even though she watches American news every single day, for hours.
And she won't talk about Canadian politics because "it's boring".
So I don't talk about anything, there's really no point.
I don't discuss politics with my dad at all. He's a great guy, but stubborn and irrational about certain things.
He still thinks OJ is innocent. Even my mother gave up that one.