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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Conversation about "Partisan Divisions" is All Wrong



I need to scream somewhere. Every media outlet I like, and probably some I don't - today, it was Vox, which I usually like enough - has done a "gee I don't understand why there's so much partisan division going on right now owo *shrug emoji*" type of piece.

Look - we can't have a "civil conversation" when part of the platform of the party is about not accepting the human rights of the other people.

The screaming - is this real?


It feels like the world is gaslighting me, trying to remember when legislators would disavow the KKK and mean it. I know those elements were lurking. This is probably my white privilege talking, at least to some extent.

But we can never have "civil partisan conversations" or "reach across the aisle" until we, as a society, stamp out fundamental intolerance's validity as a political position.

I miss conservatism that was rational and reasonable, a time when it meant caution. Yes, the racism and prejudice were in there, lurking and growing, but there was a time when they were at least openly disavowed.

Now, in the face of a fractured center and left, trying to explain this feels like a sort of strange nostalgia for an imagined thing. Was it ever really so?

Nostalgia mode: engage


I miss conservative conversations where we could talk about how much spending and actually have reasonable discussions. But conservatism has been usurped by fascism and nationalism. I mean sure, it was always there, somewhat, but I'm pretty sure there was a time it wasn't okay.

I hope for the rise of conservatives again - but that can only happen safely if they are willing to flush bigots out of their ranks. Until that happens, we can't have conversations safely. Until we accept that some respect for people's fundamental rights must be at the core of an argument, and that the question is not always "whether or not," but sometimes "how much," politics will not be safe for those who are disenfranchised. We have spent too many years debating whether First Nations people (in Canada and America) or Black people (mostly in America) deserve upgrades and full rights that we've accepted that as normal - instead of a heinous and terrible argument in the first place.

We cannot legislate away fundamental human rights, something both Canada and America have done for decades and centuries, and consider that an acceptable casualty rate of democracy and negotiating across the aisle.

A plea to the right


I address this essay not just to people on the left, but more so, to the people who probably don't read my articles and posts - to the families and campaigners who dislike or are frustrated by us. People in the Manosphere, people in the center, family members who just don't understand why we don't like Trump - this is for you. I come not to insult you or belittle you, but to beseech you.

Conservatives who still believe that, say, trans people deserve to exist and black people shouldn't be shot - I don't mean to alarm you, but you are now basically liberals. At least compared to some of your comrades or fellow soldiers, or however you might wish to be addressed.

Please, those of you who identify in the centre or the right - I ask, nay, beg of you: flush out your ranks. I realise it can be tempting to ally with someone to get legislation pushed through, but those of us facing a true fight for our rights have no wish to harm you. We on the left, we children of abuse and of plural identities - we wish only to exist in safety and comfort. This need not threaten or remove your comfort, not on a fundamental level.

Sure, there are scary conversations that might make you upset or even angry - things we have been through ourselves, and go through still - but all of us want to be housed, alive, taken care of medically, and to have full bellies. And we actually want that for you, too.

We want everyone to be called by the gender prefixes they prefer and identify with, to marry who they love, to have families by their own choice, to be fed, and to have access to an education. We want running water and heat and air-conditioning and safe living conditions for everyone. That includes you.

Please, when it comes time to vote - ask yourself who cares about the fundamental human rights issues. And then tick off their name.

All we have left is to strip away the technicalities and subtle arguments, and beg you for our lives. 


***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partner-in-crime, housemate, and their cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and nightmares, as well as social justice issues. She is currently working on the next books in her series, other people's manuscripts, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

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