Why I Look Outside my Comfortable Liberal Bubble

I voted yesterday.

I voted to approve gay marriage in Washington State, I voted to make marijuana legal in Washington State. I voted to reinstate Barack Obama as President. And in Washington, I would imagine that most of these things will be what the majority chooses as well.

I live and study and work in the New York Metropolitan Area, also a bastion of liberal thought. I spent my days being friends with anarchists, talking to artists, drinking with performers.  I write an obviously liberal feminist blog and spend my days researching feminism in America.

My worldview, if I chose to let it be, would be very cushy. Nobody is going to take away my right to choose in New Jersey, or New York. New York already HAS gay marriage. It could be very difficult to remember that I live in the same country as the Tea Party, if I chose to let it be that way.

But I don’t choose that path. I choose to be cognizant of the country that I live in, and the differences between my politics, and the politics in other parts of this country. I have to recognize that there are people who think that being gay is a thing you should be put to death for. There are people who believe that I shouldn’t have the decision of whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term.

I went to a relatively conservative college for undergraduate work, and I remember feeling like minority in my own home state. I think this was a good experience for me, because it taught me that even if I am surrounded by the people who agree with me, there’s always going to be someone who wants to convince me that my belief is wrong. I remember coming away from heated political discussions in tears. These days, i value having experienced this because I need to remember that I don’t live in a Liberal Wonderland. So these days, I watch documentaries. I read books. I go out of my way to read the kinds of news stories that frustrate me and upset me. And I do it so that I remember. Because I can’t afford to forget that I live in a patriarchal society. I can’t afford to forget that I live in an anti-feminist world. I can’t forget that I live in the same country where Matthew Shepherd and Brandon Teena were killed.

I have to remember, because if I don’t someday I may turn around and see that my rights are gone. Even from inside our liberal bubble, we must strive to know what is happening outside of it. We’re one country, not two. When interracial marriage was illegal, it was illegal everywhere. Protecting ourselves is about more than just protecting our little bubble. We have to protect the whole nation.

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Why I Look Outside my Comfortable Liberal Bubble

  1. Theresa

    It feels sometimes that my mind lives in two worlds. It seems so obvious to me that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, in fact, that LGBT people should be equal to straight people under the law, and that women are the people in the best position to make appropriate choices about their own healthcare. Yet I live in a state that has recently passed restrictive anti-abortion laws. I live in a state that, in 2011, passed a bill effectively preventing cities from adopting their own anti-discrimination laws and requires them to use state laws which do NOT protect GLBT people from discrimination in the workplace. I live in a city that voted to remove Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, giving in instead to Christ Community Health Services. I live in a city that made a huge step forward by passing an ordinance protecting GLBT employees of the city from being fired- an ordinance that prompted some of the most influential people in the area, the ministers of large Christian (mostly Baptist) churches to speak out against these protections, saying that protecting GLBT employees from being fired was “promoting a harmful lifestyle,” and would be “detrimental to the community.”

    I lived in a liberal bubble once, and I thought I understood that not every place in the country was as comfortable as where I was, but I could never have conceived of a place where so many acts of local and state government feels like a personal attacks. I hope that someday I will see an outpouring of support of Tennesseans for GLBT rights issues as passionate as the one from Washington’s Ref 74.

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