Can You Separate Your Morals From Your Politics?
Art by Kim Salac
Before anyone gets mad, the answer is a resounding NO. You simply cannot; well, at least, not if you care about someone other than yourself (I am looking at white people specifically, yeah, you). You see, the issue with separating morals from politics lies in how privileged you are. The more privileged you are, the more you can separate the two, because the repercussions decrease the higher up the ladder you go. I’ve had this heated discussion with the same person at least six times in the past eight months, and each time the other person has huffed and puffed until finally a month or two ago they said “yeah, no, you’re right, they can’t be separated.”
I’m writing about this with the election in mind. I, in my white skin, thought about how much I hated Biden’s past with women (being uncomfortably affectionate to women, which he has apologized for and promised he would be more mindful towards) and I thought about how much I hated Harris’ record (Oh boy, the anti-truancy policy — she did end up saying she regretted how the policy was enacted). I also thought about the 18 year old Tasha Dixon, whom had her half naked body seen by Trump when he walked into the Miss Universe changing room. I think about 22 year old Rachel Crooks, who when she shook Trump’s hand in an elevator in Trump Tower, he started kissing her on the cheek and mouth. I think about Natasha Stoynoff, Jennifer Murphy, and Jill Harth. I think about how when I was 18 I was hanging out with my friends, drinking milkshakes and eating fries in the Cook-Out parking lot. I cannot separate my morals from my politics.
One day my mom and I were driving back home after running errands. I was 6. I looked out of the window and saw a man pitching a tent in the median, and I said “Mommy, he’s going camping!” She replied, “Honey, he’s not camping, he doesn’t have a home.” I really, really cannot separate my morals from my politics.
What kind of person would I be if I forgot the bite that someone saying “chink” to me left? If I forgot the fear that I feel when I’m pumping gas alone or walking past dark? If I forgot Tasha Dixon or Rachel Crooks, if I forgot the homeless man, if I forgot love?
When I was five I saw my mom’s best friend (a woman) kiss her date (a woman) that she brought to our house. I whispered to my mom “They kissed” with a little confusion in my voice. My mom replied “Yeah, they’re in love” and left it at that. Several of my dearest friends identify somewhere on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. You will never see me separate my morals from my politics.
Why won’t I separate them? Because even though my skin tone would allow me to do so, what kind of monster would I be? What kind of person would I be if I forgot the bite that someone saying “chink” to me left? If I forgot the fear that I feel when I’m pumping gas alone or walking past dark? If I forgot Tasha Dixon or Rachel Crooks, if I forgot the homeless man, if I forgot love? I do not want to see a me that exists in such a form.
With this election in mind, I don’t want people to separate their morals from their politics. Vote, I dare you.
With this election in mind, I don’t want people to separate their morals from their politics. Vote, I dare you. This election you have the chance to either vote for women, for Black people, for Native Americans, for your friends that don’t have the privileges you do — or to vote for someone who doesn’t believe I should be writing this piece right now. I trust you to figure out who is who.
I must say, I am angry at the privileged and ignorant. I am angry that someone can believe that women have the right to their own bodies, but turn around and vote for someone because they “like their economic plans better.” I am angry that you can look a survivor in the eyes and say you’re sorry, then vote for a rapist. I am angry that every single time I roll into one of my politics classes, there’s a guy that is “hypothetically” wondering what would happen if women weren’t allowed to vote anymore.
I am angry at any person that doesn’t try to use their privilege for good. You can be white, privileged, and poor, you can be privileged and have been raised in a broken home, you can be privileged and still experience hardship — but you aren’t being discounted by the color of your skin. Remember that.