I’m just not that into politics. I’ve never been able to coerce my mind into weaving through the complex web of our government, the extent of my knowledge resembling a scary combination of House of Cards set to the tune of I’m Just a Bill from Schoolhouse Rocks. I try to avoid intense political discussions, because, like most people (even if they don’t realize it), I know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be effective. Things get dirty when people start yelling full opinions and half-truths at each other, mouths opened, ears closed.
Sometimes I feel guilty I don’t care to understand more than I do, that I don’t put forth more effort into the things I believe to be right and just, that I don’t take a bigger stand outside of voting in elections, considering that my voice. Personally I am grateful for the individuals who have made politics their chosen path because that means it doesn’t have to be mine. It can be a nasty, crooked, corrupt institution, no doubt. I mean, something tells me House of Cards wasn’t cooked up in a totally fictional bubble.
And this next part is sort of embarrassing to admit. When I was 19, I voted for Bush because my family did. When I was 23, I voted for Bush because my family did and my boyfriend was in Iraq and people basically told me he would probably die there if Kerry became president. When I was 27, I voted for Obama because a different boyfriend asked me why I was Republican, and for the first time, I actually thought about it. And I realized I wasn’t. On pretty much any level. Correction, that was 100% embarrassing to admit.
And it’s absolutely terrifying to think millions of 23 year-old-me’s will go to the polls next Tuesday to vote, with such little thought, such little knowledge, such ignorance. I mean, I’m a post-collegiate educated woman, a single homeowner, who falls into a fairly high tax bracket (er, when I’m actually employed). And it took three voting cycles for me to truly think about who I was as an individual, and who I believed most represented my values. I was the textbook definition of the swing voter political parties try to reach in these final days, huffing and puffing, hoping to blow me one way or the other.
And swing I did, but on my own accord. It took a while, but I eventually figured me out. I’m still not much for politics, but you know what I do love? Analogies. And logic. So let me make some analogies about logic in this 2016 election.
Would you strap yourself to the chest of a person who had never jumped out of a plane before, trusting they’d reach the ground alive? Would you take your teenaged daughter out driving and make her merge onto a six lane expressway in Chicago two minutes into her very first lesson?
If you had to have brain surgery and were forced to choose between the only two doctors available, like you HAD TO CHOOSE OR YOU WOULD DIE (literally), would you choose the doctor with 30 years of experience on the surgery, but only a 60% success rate, or the person who never performed the surgery, actually come to think of it, he wasn’t even a real doctor. But he had been going to doctors all of his life and he’d watched a lot of doctor shows on the boob tube, shows like ER and Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy, and feels pretty confident he could handle the surgery, probably better than anyone.
I am willing to bet you would not strap yourself to the newbie skydiver, you’d start your daughter off driving in a parking lot to get out all the kinks, learn the feel of the car, and given a choice, you’d choose the doctor that gave you an actual chance of survival.
Nearly every profession out there requires a certain skill set, a certain level of experience, proof that you have what it takes. Which is why I am sincerely trying to understand how President of The United States of America, arguably one of the most important professions in the world, became a position with “no experience necessary” listed on the job posting. You know, like any other standard entry-level position. You gotta start somewhere, right? Why not at the top! You can learn all the steps you skipped later, in the abundance of free time you have in your new position as POTUS. How fun!!
In fact, these days, the words “experience” and “career” are actually being held against the people who have them, mostly to cover up the fact the people using them as insults have none. Is it so bad to be a career politician? I mean just like any other field, people find things they like to do, are skilled at doing, and if they’re lucky, stick to them. Are career football players and chefs, and doctors, and lawyers so awful? They don’t seem to be when you’re picking your fantasy football team, or trying to find someone to represent you in that crime you allegedly didn’t commit. Should maybe a brain surgeon try to be an electrician and the baseball player take up hockey just to mix things up? Wouldn’t want to make a career out of it.
What’s that? You’re a businessman? Golly, that’s great! And that makes you qualified to run our government…how? Oh, I see. You’re one of those people who think raising a puppy is similar to raising a child. I get it now.
Most of us are not politicians or businessmen, so it’s difficult comprehend how absurd this comparison is, or even to relate to what is actually happening. But all of us either parents or not parents. I am a Non-Parent. So what would you Parents think if I were to stand behind a podium and critique each and every parental decision you ever made, the ones where you majorly f*cked up and you know it, the ones where you did something selfish to benefit yourself and maybe not the whole family, the ones you regret, the ones you should but don’t, because you learned from them. And then what if I told you how much better I would do it if I had kids? What if told you all the ways I would make my kids the best kids ever? How they would always clean their room and get straight As and never talk back and I would never make a single mistake, not one.
You’d silently smile and shake your head and think, Oh honey, you think you know, but you have no idea. But you also wouldn’t really have anything to critique me on in the parenting field, because I haven’t made any parenting mistakes. Not because I am awesome at everything, but because I am not a parent. But I do have two cats (practically kids, amiright?), and boy are they the best, most successful cats ever. Sure, both are pretty obese, one walks around with constant dingleberries and the other has a midnight meow that will wake the neighbors…
But none of that matters as I loudly accuse you of terrible parenting, pointing out all your flaws, wondering why you haven’t done more, done better, while simulataneously boasting how much more awesome I would be because everything you can do I can do better, I can do everything better than you. And though I am only unflawed in this area due to zero experience, for some reason, I feel very qualified in telling you how to parent without knowing what it even is to be a parent.
And all of the other Non-Parents would cheer me on, nodding eagerly in agreement, because the only thing easier than pointing out all of someone else’s flaws while making a claim as to how I would do it better, is nodding silently along in the background.
Would you think, “Yeah, this makes sense.”
Or would you be totally fricking confused as to how you found yourself standing up against a crazy-non-parent-cat-lady for the Parent of the Year Award?