Respect

“Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without.”

-The Merovingian

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

― Joseph Joubert

Yes We Can was the slogan in 2008. Do you remember that feeling? The incredible awe and beauty of watching a black man become President of the United States. Uniting as a nation, nay a world, to overcome one of the world’s worst autocracies to prove that anyone of a certain gender and sexual preference can become President?

Yet we forget that it almost didn’t happen. Obama only won 53% of the popular vote. That means 4.7 out of 10 people voted for someone else. That’s a pretty tiny margin. If there were only 10 votes, you wouldn’t even be able to declare a winner.

But almost everyone I run into in the bay area seems to think that he was elected by decree and refuses to even acknowledge that those other 4.7 people exist. If they do remember, those degenerates are ridiculed as unintelligent simpletons before being dismissed as categorically unintelligible and “conservative pro-life tea baggers that should drown in their own bile.” (actual quote from a friend in San Francisco)

It’s all very odd to me since I have a simple belief that above all things, the goal of life is to lead it the way that you want. That’s why I love San Francisco. I get to dress the way I want, color my hair the way I want, pierce myself the way I want, get around the city in whatever weird manner of transportation I want, and most of all, say whatever I want.

Except for anything that could possibly be misconstrued as agreeing with those conservative pro-life tea baggers that should drown in their own bile.

God forbid if you mention any of that. Say one word about absolutely any conservative issue and San Francisco seems to grind to a halt. The record skips a beat. Dead silence with every set of eyes staring at you like deer in headlights.

The only other comparable experience in this world is that of insulting Mohammed. That same fear that all Americans feel about inducing the rage of the entire Muslim world? Yeah, that’s what conservatives feel in San Francisco.

But guess what? There are more of them than you think.

In the 2012 election, 1.6 out of 10 voters in San Francisco cast their ballot for Mitt Romney. That means one and a half out of ten of your friends voted for a Republican! Gasp! When you’re at a random bar, coffee shop, or party in the city, you’re literally surrounded by Republicans. Do you feel a chill running up your spine?

Do you realize how many hurtful and evil things you say about them?

See, I know firsthand what it is like to be the outcast. I had exactly zero friends throughout grade school. I was the redhead with perfect grades, thick glasses, a penchant for high level math and physics, divorced parents, and a sibling who loved to throw fuel on the fire every single day. I lived that life for nine years straight. You couldn’t pay me every dollar in the world to go back for one second.

My hearing being exceptional as it is (my grandfather designed the classified rubber skin used to this day on Ohio class ballistic missile submarines), I got to hear every little fucking detail those devils said about me.

It hurt. It still does. More than you could ever conceive.

It taught me an incredible lesson though.

What it taught me was respect. To respect that I see this world differently than others. To respect that we are all individuals. That all of us should get to live our lives in our own ways. To get to determine our own realities and futures. Because I want mine to be the way I want it to be. And I can do that in San Francisco. That’s why I love this city.

But hearing all of its wonderful residents snigger and gossip and cruel about conservatives is not intellectualism. It’s not something to be proud of. It’s bigotry. It’s pathetic. It goes against the very fabric of who we are. We are the most accepting culture in the world of those who are different but we are the least accepting culture in the world of those who think differently from us.

Why? Why do we feel that we need to be better than they are? It’s unnecessary! We already won!

Because, you see, a black man became President. And it proves that anyone, as long as they are of the right gender, of the right sexual proclivities, of significant wealth, background, power, political connectedness, and religious beliefs, who is married to a woman of the same race and has legitimate children and has never used any prescription drugs or seen a psychiatrist or been late on a mortgage or rent payment because they were broke that month, who can raise over a billion dollars in campaign financing…….can become President of the United States.

That’s way more accurate of the average American than a woman struggling to make ends meat from a small town in Alaska.

Yeah, let’s vote for that guy and call her dumb. And we’ll be proud of it. And feel better about ourselves.

How sad.


Author’s Note

I am not a conservative. I believe in gay marriage, reducing our carbon footprint, increasing capital gains, estate, and consumption taxes, streamlining the immigration process, massive investment in advanced research, reinvestment in our infrastructure, higher education for all, free and massively available birth control for both women and men, and basic socialized healthcare for all.

But I know better than to call anyone who thinks differently a moron. They just have a different opinion. And all opinions are valid and beautiful because the world is not black and white, but every color of the rainbow.

 
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