Things we mentioned in this Episode that you might want more information about:
Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. You might pause the podcast and answer them right then and there, but if you keep a journal (Steph and Beth both do), you might find one of these PDFs useful. Choose the orientation that fits best in your journal.
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
And I'm Beth and today we're going to talk about should we--
Wait, should we?
We don't normally should on ourselves.
No, but should we talk about politics?
Should we, I don't know?
Do we want to Beth, that's the question.
I actually love to talk about politics but, BUT I prefer to do it with people who agree with me.
You know, I would say I was thinking about that. I was walking Mac this morning and I was thinking about the conversation and I thought, I don't talking about politics really. I don't have a problem doing it. And I also, my goal, when talking about politics, is not necessarily to change people's opinion. It's just to kind of have a conversation. But I would prefer if they agree with me because I want everyone to get along. Isn't that a normal thing? Don't we all just kind of want to get along? Don't you feel that way? Doesn't it feel better when you get along with people?
Yes, it does. It feels better when I'm getting along with people and when I see that other people aren't getting along, that definitely feels better. But I don't feel I see that as much as I used to see it with politics. it used to be okay to disagree, let's agree to disagree.
And I feel we've lost that in the last maybe five years. I don't want to pinpoint it to 2016 but I think there was something about the lead up to 2016 but then I think we see it even in separate and apart from presidential elections. I think that we see it in Congress too. And that probably dates back to at least the 1990s. Not that you would remember the 1990s but they were, this time period--
I was alive.
In this other century.
Well, speaking of the nineties I could not vote in the 90s when could you vote for the first time?
Okay. I have to do the math on this. So I voted for the first time in, well, I registered to vote in 1993. The first election that I could vote in would have been '94 so that would have been a midterm election. Okay. And then the first presidential election, I could vote in what would have been 1996 so that was Clinton Dole, I believe.
Okay. My first election was 2004--
So a few years later--
A few years later--
Two elections later.
And I will say I was really excited. So there's milestones in my life, certain ages when I got to do things when I was 13 I got to see PG-13 my parents really liked following the law and when I was 17 I could watch R movies, things that. And so I always remember thinking when I'm 18 I get to vote! How exciting! I also realize I could buy cigarettes. I did not partake, but I was also like, I can do that.
Do you know that that's changed now?
It's 21 now, right? Yeah. Well I should have taken advantage when I was 18. I don't think I've ever bought cigarettes. Wait, I take that back. I have!
Don't come for me people, I was legal. But yeah, so I was really excited. And in high school there was this class called Externship and it was basically a class where we got to do really cool professional things and we got to work in a kind of an internship, but within high school, in a field that we were into. And we got to do cool field trips. And one of them is we got to go to the supervisor of elections office in Tallahassee. Who was...
Ion. Ion Sanchez. He's retired now, but--
But yeah, we got to go to his office here in Tallahassee, Florida. And he talked to us about elections. I was so excited, this is the coolest thing and we got to register to vote there and I think we registered we all got, or you got to register if you were , I guess you read it, you can register at 17, but it takes effect when you're 18 or something.
I dunno. But I was able to register or maybe I had just be come 18 and I registered to vote. I was so excited. And you get to put your political party and should I say my political party, Beth?
I don't know. Do you want to?
I will do it. I registered as Democrat and I'm still registered as Democrat. That was that was something I remember deciding , okay, I have to decide on one, there's three choices, Democrat, Republican or independent. And I remember talking trying to figure out what the differences meant and which one I felt more aligned with and I felt more aligned with the Democrat side of things. To me, it just made more sense. Democrats seemed like people that cared about all people and inclusive and things like that. And I was like, I believe in that. So that was the party that I kind of gravitated towards. And also I realized if I was registered independent, I couldn't vote in primary elections and I was like, Oh, I wouldn't be able to vote all the time. Right. Voting is awesome.
Because we have a closed primary in Florida. So you can only vote in the primary for the party for which you're registered. Yeah. That's not true in every state, but it's true in Florida.
So I registered to vote and I was so excited. I did research and watched all of the stuff for the first election and I was very excited. I did end up voting along my political line and I was very sad because the person I voted for did not win. I was very sad. I still remember after it was called who won, I remember going to my mom's office and parked in her parking in the parking lot and I just cried in the car. And I told my mom, I'm just so upset. I was so into it and so excited and he lost. Were you just as sad in '04 like I was?
I was not sad in '04. When I registered to vote back in the 1900's, I registered as a Republican. So I didn't register the same way that you did. And I was really proud to be a Republican and was really active and I was really interested in politics and followed it really closely. And, in fact, I thought I wanted to be a politician.
Oh you'd be a good politician.
So I graduated from high school and went to college and studied political science and really thought that I would grow up to be a politician. So I was registered Republican and voted along party lines. So in 1996 I did not vote for Clinton. Yeah. I voted for Dole. I voted for Bob Dole. I think I even still have a sticker. And then in 2000 that election was Bush versus Gore.
Yes. I remember that was, oh that was a big deal. Was that the hanging chad?
That was the hanging chad.
Oh my, gosh, I was really into politics then too even before I could vote. And that was, that was disappointing. I felt bad sad for being a Floridian that during that time.
So I was I was, I had already finished law school at that point I was practicing law and so my office was downtown and I remember that at the Capitol, all of these, all of the national news folks came in and they were kind of parked right there at the Capitol because you know, it's the Capitol and it makes a good visual. But also the Florida Supreme court is just behind there. And the case was going to go to them and, and I remember walking around at lunchtime and realizing that the people that were on TV, the national news people, they're really dressed up just for the part that the camera can see. And then they're in jeans or shorts or it was, it was wintertime. So it was more like jeans.
And flip flops?
Yeah. I was really surprised. But it used to be a little fun thing we would do at lunchtime, walk around and see who we could see. So that was 2000 and then 2004 would have been Bush/Kerry.
Bush reelected. That was my first election. Yeah.
Yeah. So you're guy lost. My guy won. And then 2008--
My guy won!
Your guy won. That would have been Obama/McCain. Obama won. Yeah. Right. So your guy won, my guy lost and then 2012 was Obama/Romney.
Yeah, that sounds right. Right.
And so again, your guy won. My guy lost, cause this whole time we're still voting along party lines. How we're registered. Yes. And actually just to back up for just a minute, you know, not only did I study political science and not only was I really interested in being in politics, but I was really active in College Republicans. Being a Republican has been a big part of my identity all the way through. And people used to say, well that's because your parents are Republican. But actually my mom's a registered Republican and my dad was a registered Democrat. So it didn't matter how I registered, you would be able to see this link up in ideology.
Why did you connect more with the Republican side of things?
Well, I think that there were some reasons that I remember identifying some reasons and then in reflecting on it, I think there were some other reasons. So the reason I would have said at the time that I was registering as a Republican is that I really believed in limited government, a lot of personal freedom, and I believed that government should equip people. And I felt sometimes government programs were dis-empowering people. So kind of my worldview, and also, I was pro-immigration and at the time the Republican party was pro-immigration. That's a fact that people often forget. But actually, even when Ronald Reagan was president, pro-immigration was a big part of the platform.
So pro-immigration? Allowing people to come to the country. Was that not happening at the time?
It was happening and it was sort of universally accepted to be a good thing. I only bring it up because now I think being Republican means being anti-immigration. Yeah. So college Republican went to law school, was a registered Republican through all of those elections. In law school realized I didn't want to be a politician. We can talk about that sometime if you want.
You went lawyer way. I got you.
I went lawyer instead of politician. So, voted party line all the way through until 2016. It was the first time I didn't vote party line and ended up in 2019 changing my voter registration. So from 1993 to 2019, I was registered as a Republican and in 2019 I went No Party Affiliation. So I don't get to vote in the primaries, but I decided that that was okay. Okay. It was worth it to me. Yeah.
We're talking about this. And I think I think politics is always one of those politics and religion are those things that you, you're not, you shouldn't talk about. And those are things we talk about. So here we are. But as we've been talking about the history just now and then as we talk about 2016, there is a feeling inside of me that goes [groan] uncomfortable when we get to 2016. Is that, do you feel that or is that just me?
No, I do. And, and I think part of it is what we're getting at today is something about the feeling around the conversation and something about the tone of the conversation has shifted in a way that is not comfortable.
Yeah. There's just this feeling , Oh, heavy heavy when it just, it all changed and I think, I'm not blaming social media, but I think social media had a huge part in that shift. And it still continues to have, there's such a presence on social media of politics and I think that's what helped cause that shift. I mean just when you were talking about the back in 2000 when the news anchors were here in town and they're in their silly outfits, I was thinking, "Do they still dress like that because I feel like that'd be all over social media." I was thinking as you were talking, I was , Oh that's something you would have now put on social media. "Look at the news anchors. How silly!"
I totally would be putting that on my, I would, if I saw that today, I would totally, I'd put it on my Facebook, I tweet about it and put it on Instagram. I absolutely would. Yeah,
Exactly. When you have a thought or something you're angry about or something that you want to express, where do you go? Social media. And so I think that's what's, I think that is a big part of what's changed with politics is that we now can all say our thoughts and people that have no space saying thoughts say their thoughts and then someone reports on the thoughts and then it just becomes this whole spiral. And then there's just, there's just so much more anger I feel, associated with politics these days.
And so much I am afraid to talk about certain things in if I'm in a restaurant or something, I'm afraid sometimes I kind of look around. Politics has become such a hot topic that people that believe different than me with politics, it's not that just, "Oh, they're just not gonna agree with me." I don't know, there's a fear of, they might shoot me, they might, it's a danger zone. There's so much tension and anger and that I sometimes just you know, I have to be aware of my surroundings. I dunno.
That's heavy. So I, I haven't had exactly that thought, but just a couple of weeks ago I was at a doctor's appointment with my son. He broke part of his hand. So we were at the place to get a cast that and all that. And his friend was with him. So two people who are newly registered to vote and me and we were talking about politics and they started to shush me. The boys did, like, trying to give me subtle hand signals and, and whatever. And I tried to think about what I was saying. I didn't understand if I was being offensive or what it was. But I really was not saying anything offensive. I was expressing my opinion in a way that didn't demean or denigrate anyone, not a candidate, not a political view, anything. It was just, I believe that duh, duh. Yeah. Well, what I realized was happening is that there was a woman who I didn't realize was sitting next to me wearing a Trump 2020 shirt and I was saying something about how--you know what, it was during the impeachment.
It was, and so I, I must've been saying something about the impeachment and how I, in my view, there was an abuse of power and then I didn't think that was really up for debate. Clearly this was an abuse of power. So we have to decide if we want to expand presidential power or if we're going to see this as an abuse. I was kind of taking that approach and the boys were so uncomfortable because there was somebody there who was obviously a supporter of the president and who would, who wanted to wear this shirt during the impeachment, which I think is probably, you know, a statement and I really would have been happy to sit down and have a conversation with that lady and these new voters were , no, that's not something that you can do. Clearly she disagrees with you. You have nothing to talk to about her talk, nothing to talk to her about.
It's interesting because I want to have conversations with people, but I do feel someone wearing a shirt, I don't wear shirts with the candidate I support. I don't have bumper stickers with the candidates I support. I don't put it out there that much because overall I'm very frustrated with politics overall. I don't believe a 100% on anyone. And I, even when I voted for people, I wasn't 100% on them. I think it's very limiting to only really have two choices. It's which is less evil, you know? That's, that's a tough one. So, but I feel when somebody, especially now when somebody wears a shirt of their political party, I feel that's going to be a tough conversation to have with somebody. And I don't know if they're open to having conversation. I feel if they're wearing a shirt, especially during that time period, it's probably going to be more of a screaming match than a civil conversation. If I knew the person, if it was a friend and they were willing to have those kinds of conversations, I'd be totally willing to. I have a friend that is very different politically than me, but we we have civil conversations about our political differences a lot of the times because we're both willing to talk and not get our emotions fired up. And just to hear each other because it doesn't change each other's views at the end of things. But we can talk cause I think it's really important to hear other sides of things. I think it's really important to not just hear things you want to hear. I want to do that. I want to hear why someone, why you were Republican. When I voted, when I registered Democrat, there was nothing that I aligned with on the Republican side of things. So that's why I registered the way I did. I definitely don't agree with all Democrat things and I wouldn't say just because I'm Democrat that I believe all those things, not at all. There's definitely things that I'm okay no let's put that down, let's go that direction. But it's interesting because for preparing for this episode, me and you talked about some political hot topics, things that divide us and we were trying to figure out something that we see differently on. So we thought we were going to be , Oh it's going to be easy. There'll be a lot of stuff. But we realize we are very similar politically.
Right. We actually agree on a lot, which if we could have, if as a country we were better at having political conversations, I think that's what we would find is that we actually have a lot of agreement but we get wrapped up in our disagreement. And I think what happens is, I will say that for myself what happened is being Republican became a big part of my identity. And so when the Republicans are criticized, I'm internalizing that. Like, no you're saying that some part of me is bad or some part of me doesn't make sense or that some part of me is greedy or you know, whatever, whatever the attribute might be. And so then I have to react in this way. I'm defending myself.
When really no, let's, let's just have a conversation about policy. Let's have a conversation about powers, let's have, you know, and it's, it's really hard to do that because it's become such a matter of identity.
It's interesting cause I don't identify, I don't feel that way with being a Democrat. I don't feel my, if someone's criticizing Democrats, I mean I'll criticize the Democrats. I don't, there's definitely things I'm , okay that was a bad choice. So that's interesting. Yeah. I don't really if someone was criticizing the party, I don't know. I, I feel the party just speak. Yeah. I said, just because you're this party that doesn't mean I'm going to listen to you. I'm going to still use my brain to think through what you're saying. And do I align with that? Not just because of the political affiliation.
So we were talking and we could not figure out anything cause we wanted to kind of on the podcast, have a discussion, have a conversation where we see where we have different views on something, but be able to have a civil conversation kind of play that out, what that would look like. And we finally figured out--
We found one thing!
And we didn't, we haven't talked about it because we're , Oh, let's say yes. What is your thoughts? We live in Florida and currently marijuana is not legal in Florida. It is only illegal for medical purposes. Medical marijuana. What is your thoughts on legalizing marijuana in Florida?
I am not in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. How about you Steph?
I am in favor. Oh that's so interesting. Yes. So I'm in favor of legalizing it. I don't understand why it's not legal already cause it is in a few states.
Are there parameters that you would put on it if it were legal? Would you put age limits or age minimums on it?
Oh yeah. I mean I would say you said the cigarette age is now--
21 I think.
So, I would say I would say the same thing with marijuana. 21.
Would you put quantity limits on it?
I am no expert Beth.
So I am no expert on drugs really of any kind. So I know, I know drugs are bad. Don't do drugs. Kids. I know that. Number one drugs are bad.
Just say no.
I know caffeine is a drug and it's in soft drinks. Soft drinks are bad, I know that. And I know a lot of prescription drugs are bad and people are addicted to them and that is scary and not a great thing. So I don't encourage anyone to smoke anything. I want to say that I don't encourage that at all. But if you are going to do it, I do think it's important for there to be regulations. In my mind, by legalizing marijuana you can have more regulation on the substance and whatever those regulations are, I can't say cause I don't know enough about it to say what the amount should be, dah dah dah dah. In my mind I would align it with cigarettes. I know they are made up of different things obviously, but I would say, you know, the regulation within cigarettes is probably the same. Similar to marijuana. What that is, I have no idea, but.
I'm not sure tobacco should be legal either. Honestly.
See that's the thing is I, yeah, I think these things are bad, but there is so many bad things that are prescription that they hand out for $5 copay. That's the thing. that's a whole bigger issue. To me it's like if you make it legal, you at least put some regulation behind it. In my mind, this may not be true, but in my mind if it's legal, you put some regulation, it makes it safer. So people that are going to partake in it anyways, will have a safer experience. That's what how I see it. Whether that's true or not, that's how I see it. And also if people are going to be buying it, we might as well get tax money from it is also part of my opinion.
Hmm. So I am not for legalization, although I do think that there is that there should be a pathway for for it as a prescription drug.
It is. Medical marijuana.
Yeah. I think that there should be a pathway for that. So although I'm telling you that I'm not in favor of legalization, I'm saying with some caveats. So maybe medical marijuana as a prescription, as a pill is okay. A pill or maybe an oil, I'm just not sure about the smoking part of it and--
It's not smoke. The medical is not, you don't smoke. Right now you're saying you're for what's already in place because right now it's medical is legal. I think it's in a pill form.
Yeah, it gets a little bit dicey because it's legal under state law, but it's still not legal under federal law. So the medical marijuana dispensaries have to be an all cash business. They're not allowed to have bank accounts. So there are things that that I think are really odd.
And the other thing I would say about recreational use is I do think we should find a way to decriminalize it without legalizing it. So I think that there are a lot of, a lot of people of color who have been put in jail because of the way our drug policy has been implemented. And I think that that needs to be looked at, but I think just saying, "yeah, recreational use of marijuana is okay," is not consistent with what I have seen out of the folks in my life who have known, who have been marijuana users. I felt like it definitely relaxed them, you know, demotivated them and I wouldn't want to open the door to more of that. But understand that I'm also saying that as someone who has a background of wanting smaller government, so I'm, I'm sitting here saying there's an inconsistency in how I view those things, right? Because I'm, "oh, smaller government, but more regulation of, of this, you know, drug that people use recreationally." So I see the inconsistency in that.
I completely agree with you on the the legal side of things. For me, I feel by regulating it, it could potentially be safer, a safer experience, but I'm also on the same side, not saying that when government gets involved in something that it makes things better. I definitely don't think so. I think there are government recommendations that are ridiculous and so ancient and were created by one person one time and they're something we used today and I'm just , it bothers me so much. But yeah, to me I feel by "safer" I don't mean good for you or not going to slowly kill you at some point. Cigarettes will kill you. It's on the label. So I'm not saying that regulating will make it safer in that sense at all. I just feel by regulating it there's, there's so much money in the industry and by making it legal we can get tax money out of it. We can have it regulated better. There can be above the table, not cash under the table, ridiculousness. So to me it just makes sense. There are certain things that--this is a hot topic--but when gay marriage wasn't legal, I remember it became legal in a couple of states and it was , it was kind of ridiculous. It's , why is this not legal? And it finally did. And now some kids probably never don't know it wasn't legal at one point. now it's just , Oh yeah, of course it's, of course it's legal, but I remember when that was such a hot topic. So to me it's kind of reminiscent of that. Of course it's going to, it's legal in a lot of states so far. Colorado was I think one of the first. And so to me it's it's just naturally going to happen. At one point it will be legal. So that's kind of like I was for gay marriage, you know, I was like oh yeah, it should be legal and it is now and now it's not even a question.
Do you think there will be a time when other drugs that are illegal now will be legal? Because that's also a question in my mind. Okay, well if we were to move the bar on marijuana, is the next thing going to be cocaine? Is the next thing going to be heroin? Is the next thing going to be the methamphetamines? Is it, I mean, methamphetamines come from prescription drugs.
I think we could do a whole episode about prescription drugs. It's very complicated. I don't think it's a slow, to me, I don't think it's a slippery slope to say making marijuana illegal will make, you know, crack at Walmart. I don't think it's gonna. I don't think that's the, the move. Yeah. To me it's not , well, if you do this and this is of course going to happen, I don't see it as the world will end because this one thing happens.
So is there something about marijuana that makes it okay as compared to cocaine, which wouldn't be okay? Because there's something about marijuana that makes it especially appropriate for legalization?
From the things I know about marijuana, which is little to none. It's not a hard drug. It doesn't have a, it does have effect obviously. It kind of chills you out, is my acknowledge of it. And I talked about actually in an episode I talked about pursuing getting marijuana for myself medically for for my depression, for helping with depression. So I think there's a lot of benefits to it. I was researching it, I was looking at the process. I was at the early stages of the process. So I can't say all the facts about it, but to me it's not a hard drug. It's in my mind it's less intrusive than cigarettes. Crack seems like a hard drug, if that's what you compared it to. Did you say crack cocaine? Cocaine? Are they the same thing?
No. Cocaine is a powder and you snort it and Crack is a rock and you smoke it.
So much education today. I love it. Thank you so much, Beth. Thank you. I remember the only thing I remember I learned about hard drugs in high school. We learned about them in a big group setting. The the dare officers came and told us, don't do these drugs, but let me show you all about them and look how cute they are.
Right. You gotta know.
But don't do them. Yeah. So it was very conflicting in my head. I haven't done them any hard drugs.
Me either. Because I was scared of them. I mean it was just they told us that if we did this even once we could be addicted to it. And I was like, "Oh, that sounds terrifying to me." And so, you know, self-preservation. No thank you.
Yeah. I mean if I was to do drugs, I would want to make sure I'm doing them with the right people and I know what I'm doing and I'm not a, I'm not 100% against it. I'm also not saying I'm doing anything illegal because this is all recorded. I I have smoked before. I think that was in my book. I might've taken that out, but I have smoked before. I do drink. Not often anymore--
That's not illegal.
It's a drug though. Alcohol is a drug. Smoking's a drug. Nicotine. Yeah, they are drugs was my point.
Vaping, man. Vaping. So many teenagers are vaping now.
I just saw this article about how they specifically targeted their ads to teenagers. Yeah, of course they did. Why would you want older people when you can younger people and have them have been getting your drugs for life? I have a friend that actually is big fan of vaping and he was like, it's the greatest thing, so maybe we should have him on the podcast to talk about why he thinks vaping is great because I have no opinion besides, it doesn't seem great.
I don't think I would handle that conversation very well because I have very strong feelings about the appropriateness of vaping.
Oh, we should do it! He would love to debate you.
Particularly the way it has been targeted to younger people. Well how they think, Oh it's totally okay because I'm not smoking. Actually you're consuming as much nicotine as if you had just had 20 cigarettes and Oh by the way, you don't actually know what's in that vape cartridge. So, you don't know what you're putting in your body.
Have you ever done hookah?
No, I haven't.
I did it once and there's a hookah bar in town. If they're, I don't know if there's anymore, but that's the equivalent to smoking a hundred cigarettes or something. I was like what? Oh my goodness. So--
That's a cultural experience. So that's different.
Oh, okay. Okay, cool. Sweet then. Okay.
No, I mean I think that's how people see it.
Isn't is an Ayahuasca a cultural experience?
I saw a documentary about it on Netflix. I can't tell you anything more about it. It's a hard drug that has you hallucinate and things. Oh no. We'll put a link in the show notes cause I'm probably wrong.
So you said that a couple of times today you're like, "I'm no expert. This might not be true. I'm probably wrong, but this is what I believe." If that doesn't sum up American political views, I don't know what does.
Exactly! That's what I'm saying. I don't want to be wrong, but I am wrong a lot and I'm okay with the fact that I'm wrong. But I also don't want people coming for me. I want them to know that I haven't researched this a 100%. That's I guess why I keep saying that. Cause I'm like I have not researched it 100%. I could easily be wrong, but these are the notions in my head with the minimal research I've done. I've seen the headlines of things. That's what I've seen. I did read a full article about the the vaping thing,
The whole thing? Beginning to end? The whole 800 words?
It was 400, but yeah, I read that. So yeah, I just want to clarify that I am not speaking a expert on anything.
Well, I, I consume a lot of political news.
So you are an expert?
I'm not an expert, but I am a big consumer! So I, when I'm not listening to our podcast--
You listen to our podcast?
You make me listen to it.
That's true. I listen to it, too.
I'm generally listening to something related to politics. I may have mentioned this before, but 538 is an amazing podcast. Lots of political data. Yes. Which I find really interesting. A lot of political science. And then you know the major news outlets. The Washington Post has a bunch of podcasts and CNN has a bunch of podcasts and the New York Times has a couple of podcasts. I listen to all of those because I really am interested in politics. But sometimes it's feels like knowing more doesn't help me have better conversations.
And that's why I don't know more because I would agree with that statement. I don't want to know more because it makes me mad.
But also we don't seem to even agree these days--not you and I, but I mean more broadly--don't even agree on what's a reliable news source. And I think that is really, really troubling.
Yes, that is. That is definitely tough. I know there is a website, my mom references it a lot. I think it's called snoops.com.
Okay. Snopes. Snopes. Yeah. But it's a website where you can put in a link to a website. I've actually never used it. So again, we should put, just put a link in the show notes cause I'm probably saying, but during this,
It's Snopes, S-N-O-P-E-S dot com But I will tell you that what I found, particularly in the 2016 election, you know, we know now in retrospect, looking back on it, that there was a lot of disinformation that happened leading up to November, 2016. And what I found is that with my very, very conservative friends, people who I would have categorized more as Llibertarian than Republican even, when I would try to say, well look, Snopes says that this information you're bringing is, has been has been proven false. They would say, well, you can't rely on Snopes, that's not a reliable website anymore, they've been taken over. And then they would give some conspiracy theory. Which made it really hard to even want to have a political conversation with those folks.
And then the other thing that was happening is I intentionally tried to manage my Facebook feed so that it was not just people who thought me. I really thought that there was value in that and I met someone at a conference who I knew was much more conservative than I was at that point. And then a friend of that person asked to Facebook friend me and we had a sort of intense but okay dialogue on my Facebook Wall about abortion and that he was absolutely in no way okay with anyone voting for Hillary Clinton because it meant that babies would be murdered. It was, it was, it was a guy. So I felt it went okay on my page, on my wall, my Facebook wall. So then I tried to, I responded to something that he posted on his wall and his friends who did not know me started calling me names.
What kind of names?
Libtard. And I said, I reached out to him and I was like, do you want to just have a one sided conversation? Cause if you don't, if you don't say that name calling isn't okay and if you don't make a place for another view in this conversation, then then I don't need to be, I don't need to be part of this. I'm just trying to have a conversation. I'm not even trying to change anybody's mind. I'm just trying to ask questions and I'm getting called names and so I ended up unfriending him and just just deciding it just wasn't worth it. And so I think in that way I have given in more to the echo chamber but I'm okay with it.
I try to follow enough politics of what's happening, you know, in the political space to not be ignorant. I want to at least know the big, the big highlights of what's going on. I do, you know, watch clips on YouTube and I will read the news I have on my iPad.
You know that Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court.
Man, you are just eating me up right now. I followed that one too closely and I got too real sad when that, that one was. Yeah, that's when I was following too closely to that one because that one hit a chord and that one was really upsetting. So that's actually after that is when I kind of was , okay, I can't get too emotionally involved in these things because it's not good for my health. And so I know what's happening on a very surface level. And I, I watched the highlights during the impeachment thing, they would go or back and forth all, you know, all the headlines are back and forth, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. But when it came to it, that's when I started paying attention. Okay, let's see what's happening and then it was over. So I yeah, so I did pay attention to that. So I mean, I do what I can as a, as a voter, I vote in the elections, I keep an eye on what's happening, but I do feel helpless a lot of times. I feel like there's really nothing I can do as one person when there's not an election. And then when there is an election, it's so limiting on our choices. I mean, I don't know if every state has this, but in Florida we have a ton of amendments to vote on on our ballots and they are written ridiculously. The way they're written is for a, a certain education level that most people aren't at. I dunno.
Well, I think sometimes they are written to be misunderstood.
They are! And usually, historically, they all pass that everyone votes. Yes.
Not because of me cause I don't vote for constitutional amendments cause I think that's not the best way to create law.
To amend something as important and that should, you know, should be pretty steady. The Constitution of the state should be pretty steady. The Constitution of the United States should be pretty steady.
That gets back to issues within politics though is because they can't, people normally put amendments on the ballot because they can't get them passed any other way and they know that people historically not always vote. Yes. I mean something as simple as people voted to stop Greyhound racing. My, my puppy. It's like if you had taken the, you know, 10 minutes to research it, you'd find how much regulation there are with Greyhound racing, how much people want these dogs because they are so well taken care of. They're fed better than most of us are fed. There's such a high protein food, there is such good quality stuff. There's always two sides to anything in the sense that you can always find a horror story on anything. But overall it's highly regulated. I've seen where they are. And so something as simple as that. It's just frustrating when you do your research, but other people don't do their research and you know, the amendment passes and then, okay, well I did my part. So I do feel there's definitely a level of helplessness to it. And so for me, I know what's happening, but I also kind of have a it at a, you know, at a arms length would you say? You know, so that it doesn't interfere with my daily life. I have all the alerts and stuff turned off on my phone because I don't need at all hours of the day to be told these news flashes that they want. They do news articles to spark an emotion because you're going to, if that, if that title is sparks an emotion in you, you're going to read it and you're going to spend time on their website, you're going to click on their ad. I mean it's all based on emotion. So I have really worked on keeping me at an emotionally healthy level with the space we're in politically.
Yeah, I have really mixed feelings about that because in deciding to change my party affiliation, one of the things that I sort of worked through was: is it my fault in some way that the Republican party changed so much? Becuase I basically did disengage. I felt like nothing that I could do was gonna make a difference anyway. And once I had graduated from Law School and you know, was starting a family, it just was my personal priorities just shifted and I kind of stepped out of stepped away from being politically active. And then I kind of wondered, well, can I complain if I haven't been part of the solution? And I also wonder about this feeling of helplessness and this feeling I can't make a difference because I think that I, if I were to look at my life more objectively, I think I would be able to see how much privilege I have because of where I live and because of the color of my skin and my education level and the people I have access to. And if I feel I'm completely disaffected from politics, no wonder, no wonder our system is a mess. Who feels like they have any influence these days? Who feels like their voice matters in politics? I don't know. I guess the people wearing the t-shirts.
I also question if the people actually in office, do they feel they have any control? Because everyone votes the party lines these days. Do they even feel they have a can make a difference?
Just to kind of illustrate that point, I was at a meeting recently with fellow clergy people in town and we're trying to organize this social justice thing and, and it needs to have political influence. That's, that's the purpose of this organization that we're going to create to have political influence. So there were these two kind of conflicting views in the room. On the one hand we had the pastors of the African American churches saying, we've got this big grassroots build up and we've got people who care about politics and we have no voice. We've got to get into the room with the decision makers. That's the only way we're really going to have influence. So as we build this organization, we just want to build it in a way that we can get in the room with the decision makers. And then also in that same meeting we had people who were married to or related to or who worked with the actual decision makers. And they were mainly white and they said, no, no, no, no, getting in the room with the decision makers doesn't do you any good. You've got to activate your grassroots network because as a decision maker, their power only comes from what they see as a groundswell of support. And so I was in this room with two groups of people who felt neither one of them had power but that the other group did. And it was just this really strange disconnect that I still haven't completely processed, but I find it discouraging.
Yeah, it sounds like so none of us have power.
That was my takeaway.
We're all powerless.
Or that we all feel powerless. So who really has, who really has the power?
Is this where we end it? I thought we could wrap it in a bow and leave you with ... is there no bow on this episode?
I think the only bow is that we can each keep trying. We can each keep trying to be in dialogue and to not have our politics be, for me to not have my politics wrapped up in my identity so that I can have conversations.
And learn how you are important and learn how to protect yourself. And if protecting yourself means turning off notifications on your phone, not being as every night watching the news, figuring out how we can get through this space cause I don't think, I don't think we're going to be this divided in this. I don't think it's going to be forever. I think we're going to have to get through this and it will get better. I have to imagine it's going to get better. Maybe worse before it gets better.
It just occurred to me that it must serve someone's purpose for us to be so divided. And if we could identify who it serves, then we could be united against that idea or that concept or that person or that policy because we would be in it together.
Yeah. I mean it's hard. I think it's natural to want to say, you know, this is what caused this. I'm going to be mad at this thing. I just had something happen with my dog last week where she got hurt and it was no one's fault. It was literally no one's fault. It just happened and it's , I don't know how to feel. I can't say it was your fault you did this. No one did it, and I think that's kind of where we're at right now. It's like, I don't know. We can blame plenty of politicians. We can say this or that, but it's bigger than that and all I can reflect back on is me, how do I, how do I keep me healthy in this kind of divisive world?
And if we each were working on our own emotional health, there would be more healthy conversation in general. So that is something we can each do-- be emotionally healthy.
And vote. I think there's, we always want to say that. Definitely want vote. Even if you're not 100% on somebody, go vote.
If you want to know how to vote, give me a call. I'll let you know.
And our number is...
So thank you for joining us on today's episode. This was, I don't know. What do you think? Was this a tough one? It felt tough to me.
It got heavy.
Yeah. It got heavy. We we just, we talked a couple weeks ago, we were like, "ooh, should we talk about politics?" And then we realized, well that's a good title. So done. And so we've done it. If you're no longer listening, we're sad to hear that, sad that you're leaving, but if this is going to push you away, something else would have pushed you away coming up.
We do want to hear from folks though. And so we try to put a caller question out there. We don't do it every episode, but we do it pretty regularly. And our caller question for today is: Were you excited to register to vote? What do you remember about it? Tell us about that experience.
So we actually had a friend and a former guest call and answer one of our caller questions or actually talk to us in the voicemail about a prior episode. She called in and talked about Episode 15 and Episode 15 was all about how your wonderful dog Mac disrupted your life in the most beautiful way. And sometimes she disrupts the podcast and that's wonderful too. So let's listen to Lori K's voicemail.
Lori K. (43:48):
I've just listened to the one about your sweet dog Mac and I wanted to say I am absolutely an animal person. My whole life. Dogs, cats, birds, fish, rats.
Steph & Beth (44:00):
Rats?! Oh no!
Lori K. (44:03):
I think that might be it.
Yeah, that's enough, Lori.
Lori K. (44:05):
I currently have two, my boy and girl, kitty cat, Sherlock and Watson brother and sister, and they travel with us here on the road with us right now. And they absolutely help me get out of myself. I love having pets. But thanks for the podcast. I always love listening. Love you two. Bye.
Love you too, Laurie. Thank you. Thanks for calling in.
Lori is one of our past guests on. She was actually on Episode 14, so if you want to hear more from Lori, you can find her on episode 14, which was actually right before the dog episode. Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah. And you know, someone else that is awesome to listen to is Beth. I know we all love listening to Beth--
And blah blah blah. Beth's talking again.
That was great. Great example of Beth talking. So I actually asked her, she, I, we've talked about, she's a pastor. She is a pastor here in Tallahassee, Florida and she does sermons every?
It works out to about once or twice a month.
Okay, once or twice a month at Good Samaritan United Methodist church.
Yes, and we can actually put a link in the show notes--
I was leading up to that Beth! So I was going to say, if you want to hear more from her, she is a pastor and she does sermons once or twice a month and they, good Samaritan has a podcast of their sermons that you can listen to and we will put a link to that in the show notes. Now. Was there anything else you wanted to say? Cause I wanted to say all that she has.
No, I was just going to say the same thing. They're available online and you can listen to them. It's 20, 25 minutes. Some churches, the podcast is the whole worship service. Ours is not that. It's just the just the sermon. Yeah. It's very specifically a sermon podcast.
So we release our episodes every other week. So if you need some more Beth in between, you can find it in the podcast.
At the end of each episode we to end with questions or reflection. These are questions based on today's show and Beth is going to read them and leave a little pause between each question for you to pause the podcast and answer in your head or there's a downloadable PDF on our website.
Number one, why is it hard to talk to people who have differing political views? Number two, do you think there's value in hearing opposing views? How can you create a safe space for that kind of conversation? Number three. Think about your social media channels. Have you curated your feed into an echo chamber? How do you feel about that?
This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast. Thank you for joining us. And I apologize for Mac at the end there. She's a dog. We love her.