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Is that a label you’re wearing?

brand new qod ---->

Is that a label you’re wearing?

I'm not one for slapping labels on people, but when it comes to politics, it's sometimes necessary. If not to identify yourself with one group, then to not identify yourself with one specific group. Problem is, I don't know what I am.

Friends and family call me liberal, but that's not entirely true. Yes, I have many liberal ideals. I certainly don't swing all the way to the left of liberalism. I think Noam Chomsky is a prick, Michael Moore has started to really piss me off and I don't subscribe to the church of Michael Stipe.

Ok, so I don't lean to the left, but I certainly don't lean to the right. Right wingers frighten me. Even the centrist right wingers frighten me. Compassionate Republicans, Conservative Democrats, whatever you want to call them, I don't buy what they are selling.

Am I in the center? I'm not sure. If I had to lean one way or the other I would be more likely to lean left, but I am also not very happy sitting in the middle. It's too much like being indecisive or playing both sides of the field.

Maybe there is a list of questions somewhere, where I can fill in the little boxes my answer gets handed to me on a neat little punch card saying : Congratulations! You are Liberpublicrat!

I don't really need a label myself, but people ask me all the time. I don't know what to tell them. They want to know, do I support the war or am I peacenick? Do I support our government or am I one of them? How do I feel about women's rights and gay rights and religion in the classroom and affirmative action and school vouchers and the death penalty? And when I answer and I feel one way about one thing and another way about something else, they will invariably say "Oh but I thought you were a (insert label here) and that doesn't really go with their ideals! You throw people off like this. I find that a lot of people need to think along straight lines, in black and white. Either or. If then. I don't think like that. So what does that make me?

I can declare myself Independent, which can mean so many things and mean nothing at all. When you say you are independent, the straight liners will look at you like you have said nothing. They will wait for a different answer. "Independent? But which way? Left or right?" And, sadly, a lot of people assume there are only two ways you can lable yourself in politics. You are either a Democrat or a Republican, left, right or center be damned, and whatever you choose you will subscribe to their ways and their thinking and their ideals. You will vote party line, from President of the United States on down the to PTA treasurer.

People seem very concerned with politics now. They want to feel you out. Make sure you are on the right side. Because if you are not on the right side.....well, you know the punch line by now. Yep, the terrorists win.

So I'm sitting here, a woman without a political label. It's sort of like having an X branded on your forehead. Little kids look at you and point and say "Oh, there's the lady who isn't a democrat or a republican and she's not even a liberal or leftist or a right winger!" And their mothers pull them out of your path and scold them for getting too close to you and say things like "See what happens when you are allowed to think for yourself? That's why we took all those horrid books out of the house!" And the kid smiles and shows off his junior republican pin.....eh, tangent.

I'm frustrated with people in general. I'm frustrated with people who assume that because I speak out against some of our nation's policies that I should be put to death. I am tired of being questioned about my party, my affiliation, my religion (or lack of it), my ideology.

I don't have a label. I can't pigeonhole myself into one specific category. When you ask me what I am, I can only tell you what I believe and feel, not what category those things fall under. And if your only purpose in asking me what label I am wearing is to then give me a hundred and one reasons why that makes me less of a person in your eyes, then you can just kiss my almost liberal ass.

Comments

Handy ideology quiz

In the end, does it really matter? Myself, I tend to take aim at people that have identified themselves as liberal or conservative or whatever. Behind every ideological category is a flawed argument just waiting to be let loose upon the world...

No, it doesn't really matter. And that was the point I was trying to make before the caffeine hit.

As leader of the Liberpublicrat's I have this to say: "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists"

-Sorry Michele, it had to be said.

"...Either or. If then. I don't think like that. So what does that make me?"

A thinking person with no fear of using one's mind. Labels give people an excuse not to think, not to have to hold information, not to have to nestle another pigeon hole within their hundreds of billions of neurons, a crutch for propping up ignorance. It's an American cultural value to rely on labels as conclusions. Bush embodies and propagates this.

People love conclusions. Mercedes marketing has a new tag line, "Perception is not always reality" , which drives me nuts. I thought we were all wise and sophisticated enough to know that perception is perception - and reality is difficult to agree upon. People use labels as conclusions, when they are at best approximations. A label can be a piece of bad information which actually prevents one from seeing what is really there.

Remember Emerson's quote about consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds. If someone really wants to know who you are, tell them your astrological sign.

If they wan't a label tell them you're analog, not digital.

Michele, labels suck. The only reason they exist is because it is much easier to have a neatly compartmentalized society, than a loosely held together band of people who think for themselves.

Labels give other people the fodder to criticize us with, or a wall to hide behind. Either way, the only function they really have is to make life simpler and less exciting for those who don't have the energy or motivation to think for themselves.

Those of us who don't ascribe to such small-minded methods of living have the rest of the world at our mercy. Go head, make yourself out to have the most conflicting ideology ever and watch a conservative's head explode

Sounds like you're ready for a new vocab too. I just blogged on a related topic last night. I'd link it, but my stupid archives still aren't working for sh!t.

It was your post that got me thinking on this, Laura. (read her Wednesday, March 13, 10:30 p.m. post)
interesting monstah

I don't fit. I'm not enough of anything to really be one, although I might really be a blogger. How scary is that?

So ... I decided that, not so coincidentally, everyone I admire in history, etc., doesn't fit. And that it gives them such a cool perspective on things and they make change happen.

And some days I feel isolated. Mostly I feel superior. HAHAHAHAHHA.

when someone looks at you with horror/sympathy/whatever/ because you do not subscribe 1000% to their take on things, just say something like "oh you poor thing--they've gotten to you and brainwashed you so you can no longer think for yourself, but just parrot the party line." (If it is an otherwise nice person, you can leave out some of the above.) Incidentally, did you read today's Ellen Goodman op-ed piece titled "The Threat of a Rogue Superpower"? (She writes for the Boston Globe.)

i've been thinking about this too.

i think too many of us grew up in households where our parents were either with the gop or against it. sounds kind of like terrorism, doesn't it?

i was taught that i had to have a label or i was shirking my duty as a citizen, and how could i even vote if i didn't have a party affiliation, and... "what? you can't vote in the primaries because you're registered non-partisan? why don't you just move to the soviet union, you dirty red commie!"

i've been brainwashed into thinking i know nothing and can't think, because i refuse to associate with this or that group of people. i still find myself saying, "well i really know nothing about anything political" -- but i only say that as a disclaimer before i launch into "what i really think" -- which of course never makes sense to anyone, because they can't hear me over the droning in their head that says, "is... she... or... is... she... not... a... democrat...???"

what i mean is, i um, feel your pain.

Just thought I'd pass along this link: http://selectsmart.com/politics.html

Man, I have felt that same way for so long. Like Portia said, I felt as if I were shirking my duties as a citizen, because I don't fall under any specific category. I think it is a good thing to remain open minded enough to see the whole picture.