Living Out Loud

Speaking Out...or Not

Where I'm At Today

I'm a lot less politically outspoken than I once was. I haven't changed my decidedly left-leaning stance on life much. I don't pretend to be conservative or even neutral but I actively avoid situations where there may be political conflict. That's privilege in action and I acknowledge that. When stuff like Charlottesville happens, I step up but I'm just not there for the daily struggle any more.

In my department at work I'm surrounded by conservatives who make vague references to "diversity hires" and get Fox News updates on their iPhones. My manager's LinkedIn profile lists his causes as "Civil Rights and Social Action • Environment • Health • Human Rights •" so I feel pretty good about him. He even told me that he likes my license plate, which reads LFTY, a play on my trail name from when I hiked the AT. We just happen to work with right-wingers. The overall stance of our employer, a private university, is good. We have an outspokenly liberal leaning president, a DEI department and an abundance of rainbow inclusivity signs. I don't feel guilty.

Where I Came From

In the job I retired from, where I worked for a couple of decades in the public school system, I made myself into a well-known and outspoken employee. That's not necessarily positive. In the early days I was counseled and disciplined several times for arguing about the war in Iraq, the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision. I had my work space vandalized and received some anonymous threats from co-workers. It wasn't conducive to education and I eventually learned how to be my authentic self without being an asshole about it.

I don't keep my politics secret online. Most of my bios on social media sites advertise that I'm smarter than Reagan and left of liberal, but I don't post links to the latest conservative outrages any more. I don't make proclamations of my Trump hatred. I'll occasionally share a funny meme or crack a joke, but I'm done daring Republicans to come at me. I won't argue. I've never seen a scintilla of evidence that it accomplishes anything. I'm happy to be out about my politics, hopefully giving my fellow travelers a feeling of solidarity. I just don't get any feeling of relief in complaining all the time.

What the Future Holds

I'm more scared than I want to admit that Trump might win in November. My plan is to quit watching the news and to emphasize my family and personal life, concentrating on the things that make me happy. I'm getting ready to enter my sixties. By all rights, I should have turned out conservative. I'm white. I didn't go to college. I'm a military veteran who also worked in manufacturing. I've always lived in the South. Unfortunately for the GOP though, I'm radically opposed to almost everything they've come to represent. I'm not going to change that. I'm not going to fight about it either.