I don’t remember exactly what day it was. It was sometime after Bush got re-elected, sometime before the Democratic take-over of the Senate. To better help you cast the scene in the all-seeing eye of your mind, let’s call it December of ’05. That was when I lost that youthful exuberance, the perpetual flush of happiness that pretty much all Americans have at some point in their lives.
It was then that I finally succumbed to the pressures from someone very close to me, and I joined DailyKos.
She had been trying to get me involved in politics for a long time at that point. I never saw the purpose, never really wanted to know more than what I saw from the TV. I was a self-described Republican, happy Bush got re-elected, questioning Kerry’s Vietnam credentials, and generally clueless as to the state of our country.
It was odd; I supported women’s rights to choose, gay marriage, Affirmative Action, had all the usual liberal positions on all the policies. I think I was afraid of the word “liberal” at the time, buying into all the crap fed to us from the traditional media and blowhards on the radio and on cable “news” shows. But that’s neither here nor there.
So, I dove head-first into the world of latte-sipping, America-hating, abortion-dispensing, Marxist liberal nuttery. I was shocked at how little I actually knew and how easily people were lied to. It pissed me off and I vowed to never get fooled like that again.
Which brings me to the innocence lost.
Now, when I walk my dog in the woods near our house, I don’t see a canvas of botanical delights; I see dwindling natural resources. I worry about global warming. I gag at the garbage just dropped on the ground, mere feet away from a garbage can.
When I wake up in the morning, I worry about the job market (“in between jobs” as I find myself). I’m worried about my student loans, how I’m going to pay off my debts in such a shitty economy.
Buying groceries makes me worried about food prices, about how shitty our standards of inspection are.
Sometimes, I wonder if I wasn’t better off before, better off happy in my ignorance. It’s a question many of us have to ask ourselves when we just get too pissed off at the state of politics today (something altogether too common these days, what with the lack of action from the Democratic Congress).
And, I find myself asking myself that very question more and more lately as I’ve been discussing politics with a political neophyte. I see so much of my happy ignorance in her face when we have our discussions (really, more one-sided lectures with her asking some questions here and there). As I see her get more and more confused and frustrated with how things are not as they seem, I hesitate.
I think about how I used to worry less before I got politically educated, how much happier the world seemed to be. I reflect on the daily feelings of helplessness, the daily feelings of anger towards the do-nothing Congress. I consider letting her have the happiness.
But when she asks me “What does FISA stand for? How come that’s a big deal right now?”, I sigh. Give a little shake of the head.
And then I explain it all.
More innocence lost.
Another political ally gained.
I wish I could say for certain that it’s a worthwhile sacrifice, but only time will tell.