January 29, 2017
The politics of today aren't going away anytime soon, so it's more important than ever that we be willing to talk about them. I've been hearing too much lately that we, specifically families or relationships in which people don't agree on politics, should stop talking about them in order to save face, to get along, to keep the peace. Loved ones aren't worth losing over something as trivial as politics. To that I say this: Ignorance is not bliss, it is damning. It is heartless. The politics of today are too important to keep loved ones around who don't understand the importance of what is happening, what is at stake. If you can honestly say that you are capable of ignoring the politics happening in the world right now, you are not only insanely privileged but not worth my time and, most certainly, not worthy of my love or respect. Because the politics of today? Those affect me greatly. They affect my friends and people I care deeply about. They affect people all over the world. The politics of today are not simply about money or taxes, but about humanity. Lives. People. Rights. If you can look away, if you can ignore all this even a little, you ignore me. You ignore what's happening to me and to those like me all over the world. And that isn't what family does. Obviously, we disagree on things. We can. It's allowed. It's even good, although sometimes it drives me crazy. Knowledge, awareness, and empathy are not kindled by those who only agree. I value learning from you. But it is very important to note the difference between disagreeing on things like larger tax breaks and things like religious or racial persecution. Things like taking away rights. Disagreeing on those issues of humanity is not okay. There is only one correct side there, and if you can't or don't want to or refuse to see that you are the problem. And honestly, this isn't about you. It's about all of us. It's about being part of something bigger than you, bigger than all of us. It's about the fight for humanity. For equality. It's about swallowing your outlandish fears and fighting for the things (or people) that scare you. Still, there are those who are fine with family who live in ignorance, or those who are, for many reasons, incapable of speaking out. To them I say, I'll do it for you. I have your back, even if you can't understand why or how. I am not okay with being okay with people who are not okay with me, but I understand those who must be. I have never been the person who thinks family is based on blood or labels. To me, family is always defined by you. By the way you are treated, the way you are loved and respected. The way you are accepted. And in the harsh reality of today, this view is more important to me than ever. I will not be quiet. I will not hide. I will argue and fight and make my voice heard even if it means I lose a friend, a family member, or a loved one. Those people are not worth losing my humanity over, and they are most certainly not worth you losing yours. I am with you. Always.
January 11, 2017
Things I've done in 2017 so far: 1) Donated to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides a multitude of wonderful, life-saving services for so many. 2) Purchased a subscription to Teen Vogue, a magazine and news outlet that stood up to hate when others were afraid to. One that refuses to normalize things that are not normal. This is not something I generally read, but I want to support those who do not support the politics of today and, in turn, support me. 3) Wrote HRC a thank you note. A person I can and do look up to in many ways. 4) Started writing a gay YA fantasy, something I've been putting off for a really long time for a lot of reasons. Fear, mostly. But, these are not the times to let fears (no matter how small or large) win. 5) Started researching more, making sure my opinions count in valid ways that are meaningful and true to facts. In 2017 we've heard much about "fake news" to the point that it's becoming popular to call a fact "fake" simply because it does not agree with our own viewpoints. So, my news, my sources, stem from valued news organizations to people all over the world living the very stories we are being told. The media can be terrible, but it can also be powerful and true and a rewarding reminder of those things humanity needs. It's sad we live in a world where we must find proof amid the chaos of falsehood, but we do and so I must. 6) Become less afraid, less fearful of losing people over beliefs. I am very opinionated, but do everything in my power to believe from a place of love and equality. Although I will always be in favor of forgiveness, 2017 is not a year to let acts against humanity be forgotten or normalized. 7) Take advice from those smarter than me, those with different walks of life than me. We are a diverse world, and being an author allows me to speak with different people all over the world. It's a privilege I do not take lightly. 8) Speak out, do not back down. This is a difficult one, because many think speaking out, being loud especially for something that does not directly affect you, is wrong and causes damage - these are the same people who believe protesting is not a part of living freely, not a right. The same people who will give you an opinion then blame you for not agreeing with them. The same people who are homophobic and ask you to respect their opinions. (Note: You can disagree with things like what restaurant has the best food or which movie was better, but when it comes to things like the politics of humanity taking away rights or siding with those who favor inhuman treatments you cannot. Being in favor of racism, sexism, taking away free press, homophobia, etc is not a disagreement, it is wrong and it is immoral.) I've become incredibly, painfully aware that so many people (not just Americans) are out of touch with the world, with the people of the world, with the politics of the world, and, most importantly, with the humanity we are all equally entitled to. In 2017, people are more willing to agree or stay quiet about something that does not harm them directly, even if it harms others. Or, even willing to agree with something unconstitutional simply because you understand the reasoning. Unfair or unconstitutional matters are still that, even if your morals are not. The unfair politics of 2017 are not normal, no matter how you spin it. No more of that for me. I may not be you, but I come armed with empathy. The politics of the US today, no matter how small, often have ripple affects so vast they are felt around the world even if you are numb to them. 9) Acknowledge privilege more. There are so many types of privilege in the world, and most of them are scary to admit because they say we are, in a sense, "allowed more" than those below us. Many people are not aware of these privileges, and that lack of awareness is the thing that damns us the most. Just because you don't use your privilege or don't think you have it does not mean your privilege does not exist. Often, our privilege is inherent. In 2017, I've continued a deep education on privilege that consists of speaking directly with others who are not walking in my shoes so I may better understand the empathy they need and want. My motto has always been "be the person you want your kids to be," and so I'm taking that one step further. I try harder to not let the little things slide. 10) Become more thoughtful of the future. In our 2017, it should be noted that most of the world dislikes the place we are in currently. People are fighting for a better future daily. In 2017, I want to be one of those people. I want a better future, and that future starts now. I can't wait to do more.
Posted by David James at 5:05 PM