ForumIntroductions ► Casual survey thread
Hey Eri, I read through your posts explaining why politics matter to you. Thanks for taking the time to explain in detail, I think your points are really good and valid and after reading them I don't want to persuade you to think otherwise because I can see the logic in what you're saying.

My perspective on politics not showing me someone's character kind of comes from a different perspective that's not at odds with yours (I think).

My experience, personally, has been that I haven't seen a correlation between people's politics and how they treated the world around them. Its sort of a beliefs versus behavior thing for me. For anything outside of politics, I always had to get to know someone on an individual level.

I myself have never seen a correlation between people's politics and how they treat people in almost any scenario outside of politics. Everyone politically that I've ever met believed that their politics were the politics that were helping people. No one I've ever met, ever ever, willfully believed in harming people with their political beliefs or votes. It was always by accident or them just not seeing the big picture that people get hurt. People I've met who vote always seem to have the best intentions behind their vote and they all believe they are knowledgeable and educated.

Everyone thinks they're right. While I believe some people are wrong, what I've come to believe is that no one is purposefully wrong.

I'll give an example, I don't think anyone who is in favor of the ACA is a bad person. The ACA created a law that found me guilty of not being able to afford health care, so it legally fined me money I couldn't afford from my taxes. So I went from being poor with no health care to even poorer and still no health care. The ACA has helped a lot of people out, and no one who supported it wilfully would have liked to know I was fined money, made poorer, and not given health care in return for it. Its an unintentional side effect of people's good intentions, including my own because from what I've seen the ACA has helped more people than its hurt.

What I believe is that next to no one is intentionally wrong or intentionally harmful with their politics. This is just my belief from my personal experiences.

They are all just as likely to steal 20 dollars unattended on a table as they are likely to try to find the owner. I've just never personally seen a connection between people's politics and their strength or weakness of character.

I've never been able to hear someone's politics and think to myself, "That's a person I can rely on to have my back" and I've always been surprised. I'm a pretty liberal person myself, but I had to ban someone with similar politics from my house cuz he gave me bad vibes. I'd learn later he date raped a minor, even though he shared almost all the same beliefs with me, his character was different than mine.

I also got into a big argument in person with some abortion protesters and I told them I thought they were offensive and their beliefs were hurting people. Same guys and girls found me a few months later stranded on a long bicycle trip and gave me room and board for free and got me going again. They weren't really bad people, they just have what I believe are bad beliefs. We still argue about womens' rights and abortion when I see them, a safe place to stay doesn't exempt them from hearing my opinions.
See... the disconnect for me is that I find these people to be actively frightening and threatening to things that are very important to me. Take abortion for example - it is one of my greatest fears that I could become pregnant and be forced to carry a child to term. Everything about that scenario horrifies me. Pregnancy horrifies me (not in others, obviously, but the thought of it being me...). It is therefore absolutely awful to me that some people want me to be put into that position. That person might be willing to drive me to the hospital for an ultra sound, but they wouldn't have my back when I needed an abortion or endure 9 months of trauma plus permanent changes to my body and possible death during the birth itself.

Even though these people may believe it's what's best for society, it is something that actively and directly threatens me.

LGBTQ+ rights are another big one. I'm queer/nonbinary. I'm pan. There are many people - who genuinely think that they're doing what's best for society! - who would immediately see me as lesser for this. Some actively want to take away my rights because they think it is best for me. Some think religious employers should be able to fire me for that. I think that this DOES reflect on someone's character.

People who hold these believes wouldn't necessarily steal $20 off my table, but they WOULD vote for policies and politicians who would put these laws in place. That is much worse to me. I'd rather you take my $20.

If I know someone is actively out there and supporting marginalized groups in whatever way they can? I am highly inclined to trust them based on that alone. To me, that shows a depth of caring and empathy which is highly desirable in a friend.

In short... I believe that actions tend to outweigh intentions. I recognize they believe they are doing good. However, both myself and my friends who are also queer, my friends who are disabled, my friends who are BIPoC... their actions hurt us. Actively.
Its good to hear your perspective on that because I obviously have a very different experience. As a cis white hetero male there's almost nobody on the right or left who's actively working against me or anything that would affect me.

If I were a woman would I have been able to have that argument with abortion protesters? I don't know, I'd probably have a very different experience, I don't know what its like to have things directly impact me or have to be afraid like that. I wouldn't recommend a not straight white person have the same approach or outlook I do. A lot of things I'm able to do isn't because I'm a great guy or anything, I've just been born into a disproportionately large amount of white male privilege.

Privilege can come with a lot of blind spots, so I'm not gonna suggest that someone with way less privilege than me shares my outlook on that kind of stuff.

As a cis white male I wouldn't say I feel threatened or oppressed, but I have had mysterious heartbreaks out of the blue as some friends and a couple lovers pulled away eventually ghosting me for no reason. I would find out later that there are many progressive non privileged people who, not knowing me and being a friend of a friend, put a lot of social pressure onto other people not to associate with me because I'm not "one of them" and as such I must be dangerous and a threat. Sometimes its a best friend, sometimes its a mom, but its weird how frequently people who don't know me tell the people who do know me to stay away from straight white males because I'm dangerous and eventually even people who know and like me will cave to that pressure.

I'm not the kind of guy to exert a lot of energy making people more upset by mansplaining to them that they shouldn't instantly distrust me. Hell, I even think they are smart to instantly mistrust me. 9/10 someone who looks like me and sounds like me is an enemy to their cause so that prejudice didn't spring out of a void.

I mean, that's pebbles compared to the mountains people have to deal with who are legitimately oppressed by straight white people so I don't take it personally and I do understand the mistrust and the concern.

Still, after years of this happening on a predictable and regular basis I kind of get a clear message to "stay with my own kind".

For example, I'm very supportive of the police protests and the defunding the police thing, but I look like the kind of people that are being protested so a large group of angry people of color protesting bad white people... I actually wouldn't feel safe being physically present for a rally like that because I'm worried I might get some friendly fire and get caught in the cross fire based on past experiences so I kind of cheer it on from a safe distance.

Thinking about it now after reading what you wrote, I think its more clear why I don't notice people's politics. People's politics almost never affect me, but they more often more directly affect you and people like you negatively, so it would make sense that you've got a keener sense of sizing people up based on their politics and I'd say you are right to do so. If I were in your shoes I probably would too.

All my dealings with people and the things that affect me negatively or positively are almost wholly non political.

After all these years of not getting along with conservative people who look like me and getting burned by progressive people who don't look like me, I see the appeal of being an apathetic centrist who stops talking politics entirely, throws a barbecue, and talks about the weather.

That's not me, not yet, but I do see the appeal!
One thing I will say - I can get along with people who have different views. This is obviously necessary if you're going to survive in any modern workplace. I don't hate people because they hold conservative beliefs. I can put that aside to be friendly from an acquaintance standpoint. It's necessary in diverse workspaces and to be able to get along with my fairly conservative family.

However... It is highly unlikely that I would allow myself to be sufficiently vulnerable around them to ever become a close friend, simply because of the heartache that would be associate with that rejection and lack of acceptance. I just don't see that working out. Even within my family... Well, there's a reason I'm not close to my stepfather. I love him, but we aren't close.

But! If someone is open to changing their views, I am HIGHLY willing to talk to them about my experiences and help them understand. I just don't like to spend a bunch of time banging my head against a brick wall if they're not open to changing, is all 😅

EDIT: Also, damn, it's shitty that folks have judged you based on your looks. It's no crime to be white and cis. It's obviously important to be able to recognize your privilege - or, even better, use it to help marginalized communities who don't have that same privilege. But, like, it's shitty that you might get lumped in or judged prematurely for it. Do know that when people complain about white cis men, it is in fact a specific subset of white cis men being talked about. If their complaints don't describe you... The post is not about you. :) It's shorthand because some qualities are tightly linked with that sort of privilege, unfortunately.
>I just don't like to spend a bunch of time banging my head against a brick wall if they're not open to changing, is all

This we can both relate to with experience, haha.

I know what you mean about family though I love my family but even 2/3 of my sisters are anti womens' rights and anti anything not heterosexual. I think its wise of you not to get too close to people who's beliefs might lead them to betray you.

And yeah I don't take it personally when I'm prematurely judged, its nothing personal and I believe it can be a healthy and wise form of self preservation for people to approach me with caution so I don't let that get to me I just don't hangout in woke or progressive circles IRL anymore because I've tried to do that several times in several different states and cities and I always get the rug pulled out from under me for being cishet white straight male which I'm perfectly happy with. I mean, trust me, its great.

I wish everyone could experience what its like to be a cishet white male its like the whole world and media was built for us because it was (until Kathleen Kennedy butchered our Star Wars out of spite, but let's not talk about that.)

Its really sad for me to see other people have to work twice as hard just to get half of the respect I'm afforded though so I really wished the way I was treated was the way that everyone was treated. So what I really mean is I wish everyone was afforded the same respect that cishet white males were, I don't actually want to live in a world that's a giant white sausage fest, haha.

I want to be clear I'm not saying that to garner any sympathy or pity, I'm not in a bad way. I'm quite happy and well connected to my community. I'm only bringing it up to explain a bit why I've become very apathetic politically is because the people I spend the most time with are other cishet males and they are, predictably, mostly white most of the time. We don't see eye to eye politically, but I'd trust any of these conservative knuckleheads to take a bullet for me or give me the shirt off your back so in non political ways they're ride or die loyal to the last breath type of dudes.

I'm not saying most white dudes are like that, by the way, most PEOPLE aren't like that, I've just found the small-less-than-a-handful amount who are and we are thick as thieves. Quality over quantity. The two who are really close to me, although conservative in some ways, are progressive in some of the ways that count like they are both pro womens' rights and will respect people's pronouns and stuff so they're not all bad, either.

Most straight white guys I talk to have had the exact same experience with woke progressive groups as well. Getting burned by trying to be an ally is more common than it should be. Many of us bumble and do it clumsily at first and there's very little patience. People want us to get it all right on the first try, haha. I think that's the resentment from us having life so easy coming out. People naturally wanna knock us down a peg, "show us what it feels like" type attitude.

Most straight white guys who are allies have a limited doomsday clock before it blows up in their face and they become, like me, an apathetic barbecue bro who avoids politics like the plague. I'm only talking about it online with you because I'm not in any danger, but I very rarely talk politics at all in my real life, it just hasn't done me any good or won me any friends.
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