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I'm a little angry these days. And I'm going to talk a little about my personal life, which I am usually hesitant to do.
I like to think that I can make decisions based on what I feel are my best interests. I like to think that this, among a few other things, makes living in America a good thing. That despite the pressure from other people I have a right to do what I feel is best for myself.
I am angry because many other people feel that I should not be able to do this -- make choices they disagree with. They feel that they alone should determine what other people should do with their lives. But you know, while I respect that other people will make different choices with their lives and I respect that I have to learn to live with variety in how other people live. I get very upset when a very vocal majority of people who choose to live their lives in a prescribed way want to take choices away from me.
Have a mentioned that this makes me angry?
This, more than anything drives my politics. I want freedom. I want that freedom for myself without taking it away from others. That, I feel makes me a liberal, versus a conservative. A conservative wants people to only have a freedom to choose from choices they decide are "right" and "moral".
I have chosen to have a relationship that falls outside of the "norms" of society. My girlfriend and I live together. We are not married, and though we are committed to each other and live together as a couple we both find the idea of traditional marriage a little disturbing. E finds the language of ownership involved in traditional marriage repugnant. She doesn't feel like that idea represents her and who she is as an independent person -- who doesn't need caring for, or a man to define who she is as a person. All of this is implied in a traditional marriage. I agree with her and I would not want this for either of us. But there are few options available for us as a couple that people find acceptable.
We face the prospect of making some people very sad, confused and even possibly, angry. We'll probably even disappoint some of our family when they might expect us to do things in a more traditional way. But what I think makes me the most angry is that we are going to face opposition from people that have no personal, financial, or legal interest in what we do with our personal lives.
Part of me gets very confused when I try to understand how my choices affects them. How are the choices I make in my life -- choices that I firmly believe are right for me -- any of their business?
I have come to believe that love is a choice. I cannot force another to love me and stay with me. I have to earn that right be being a person they want to spend their lives with. In many ways I think some people view marriage as a way to take that choice away from another. They feel that by locking another into a marriage they can force that other person to stay with them without having to keep that love.
I know this isn't the way everyone sees marriage, but I think that some see it this way. And while I don't mind people that choose to live their lives in a way that I wouldn't want for myself I don't presume to tell them how to live.
If only they would feel the same way....
I get angry when some people feel like they have the sanction of society to judge others and how they live. I get angry when I feel that these people will use their own moralizing to take opportunity away from me or my partner.
"You don't conform, so we will punish you!"
Its never conscious, and most people when pressed will never say that they wish to punish people for not being like them, but it happens.
Anyone that has ever tried to be anything outside the "normal" will be nodding their heads. Its never explicit. Its always subtle and vicious. I completely understand. Its a self protection mechanism. My choices makes their lives seem less concrete. For some reason, knowing that there are other choices makes people feel very threatened.
I have a hard time understanding why people feel so compelled to force people to conform to their own ideas of what is "right". I have a hard time understanding why I should be punished for making decisions for myself as an adult.
In some part I hope this helps explain why I am so against this blatent trend of conservatism that is infecting our political system. I hope this explains why I am against groups like Focus on the Family who seem to make other people's personal lives a matter of their utmost business.
Go away, leave me alone!
Dissolve into Evergreens