A few people recently have expressed surprise as I’ve increasingly used the term “bullshit” to talk about things in policy and in society. Some of them are no doubt worried that I’ve gone over to the dark side, become some sort of closet conservative. And it has been and is a season of reflection for me, one of growing up just a little more and thinking about things seriously, rather than simply taking for granted “the way things” (including myself) “are.”
So here’s the clarification. Whether you think more or less of me because of it.
It’s not that I’m leaving left for right. I’m just calling out what I see as the stupid reduction of life by both camps into a series of moral litmus tests, without any room for moderation or critical thinking. Here’s my “bullshit” with more context, for those of you that are wondering.
Fighting redlining, police brutality, and the massive racial imbalance in incarceration is tremendously important. Making the fighting of “microaggressions” the centerpiece of anything at all is bullshit. Fighting for penalty-free maternity leave and against the glass ceiling is tremendously important. Voting for a presidential candidate—or doing anything—purely because of someone’s sexual anatomy is bullshit. Ensuring that trans people can use the restroom in peace and safety and that LGBT people can enjoy the civil benefits of marriage is tremendously important. Demanding that people use the pronouns for them that they prefer—on penalty of civil fines and/or being called a bigot—is bullshit.
And seeing any of these things as more important than climate change, militarism, or public health in the face of multiple growing global crises is bullshit.
This no doubt makes me anathema to activists on both sides. Oh well. It’s the society we live in.
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Oh, and one more thing… That truism about “the personal being political”?
It’s bullshit, too.
If the personal becomes political across the board, then you don’t have a society any longer. And if you don’t have a society, there’s no political anyway.