My Current Relationship with Politics

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that over the years I have turned into what is known as a “social justice warrior” AKA “annoying feminist” AKA “you spend way too much time on Tumblr.” I wasn’t always passionate about politics, but during my later high school and early college years, I became obsessed-constantly reading the news, voicing my opinion on matters I was passionate about, and doing my best to educate myself on pressing issues. I registered to vote the moment I was eligible and encouraged all of my friends to do the same. I voted in both the prelims and the presidential election (big difference that made). I made sure I was up to date on what was happening in the world because I cared. I would sign any petition I came across, texted RESISTbot like they were my best friend, engaged in discussions with friends or even strangers.

But now...I just can’t.

I’m going to preface this by saying that I acknowledge how privileged I am. I grew up comfortably middle class, surrounded by people who looked like me. I’ve never experienced violent racism, sexism, classism etc. I’ve always made an effort to educate myself and others on such issues, but the thought of it nowadays is so mentally taxing that I can’t even read the news anymore. I ignore the RESISTbot texts, I scroll past the breaking news, I avoid serious discussions on political issues. I’m not proud of myself for this, yet I continue to do it. I have always maintained that inaction is complacency, and the last thing I want is to remain complicit in the current climate. That being said, I don’t know how to take action and salvage my mental health at the same time.

This country has turned in a direction I did not anticipate when I became conscious of the political atmosphere, and I am unhappy because of it. At my core, I want equality and equity for everyone and seeing that being threatened for so many hurts me. I know I am only one person and cannot change the world by myself. I want to be a part of the change, but after having attempted that for several years, I think I need to take a back seat and collect myself. I can’t look at photos of kids in cages or read about rapists being nominated for the Supreme Court or even fathom the irreversible damage we are doing to the environment.

Having gotten all of that off my chest, I want to hold myself accountable and slowly return to the world of politics. I have always maintained that I must be the change I want to see in the world. I can’t just sit back, complain and wait for others to make things happen; I have to instigate positive change. Acknowledging my own privilege in being able to ignore the news is a step I feel uncomfortable taking, but now I’ve done it and I can’t go back.

I know where I stand on many important issues. I will do better because I want this country to be better, for myself and my loved ones for as long as possible. I hope that by confessing this, others will also begin to realize their complacency. Unfortunately for many others like myself, we need to place our mental health first, but maybe one day we’ll all recover from this together and fight again.