I wish I was a right wing conservative Christian who loved cooking meatloaf and quilting. I wish I loved ‘Murica, guns and Ann Coulter. But alas, I am a Jewish liberal who leans far enough to the left that I might fall over. I marched for abortion rights in Washington DC several times, I support gay marriage and I sang Kumbaya on the plane as I traveled to Bulgaria as a Peace Corps volunteer. I don’t know if my tree hugging Bernie Sanders rooting tendencies are from DNA or my upbringing or a mixture of both. In fact, when I was 20 years old, one of my aunts condescendingly told me when I “grew up” I would see the light and join the ranks of the right wing.
You may ask, why would you want to change the essence of who you are? It’s not that I really want to change my essence. I just want to believe in the American dream – it seems so pleasant. I remember in my freshman year of college telling a group of friends about the pro-choice rally I had just attended. I mentioned a few anti-choice stragglers holding up placards of supposed fetuses pulled apart. One of the girls said she was offended by the term anti-choice and preferred I use the term pro-life. Her boyfriend was the leader of the campus group, Young Americans for Freedom which my Women’s Issues Now group dubbed as the Young American Fascists.
As she spoke about how pro-choice activists should be respectful of her preference of the term pro-life, my mind wandered. I thought about how lovely it would be if I could believe that corporations had people’s best interests at heart. I wanted to share in the fantasy that benefits for the wealthy will trickle down to everyone else because with tax cuts they will use the extra money to help the poor and needy. I wished my brain would allow me to contemplate that industries would self regulate to keep people safe and healthy. I wanted to be confident in the idea that affirmative action was not necessary because we lived in a meritocracy. I wanted to accept that wage discrimination was a conspiracy made up by angry feminists. In fact, I hoped that feminism was an outdated theory and the Equal Rights Amendment was not necessary. Life just seemed easier, breezier and more fair.
I’m not saying that girl didn’t have worries or fears. And it wasn’t a competition in who was more depressed about that state of affairs. She was just as upset about the (misguided) thought of babies being dismembered in utero as I was about a woman’s right to choose being more limited or (eventually but unlikely) overturned. But I still thought she was so lucky to have blind faith in CEO’s, corporate boards and probably at some point in her life, the Koch brothers. She loved capitalism and believed our country should be run like a corporation. Problem is a corporation exists to make a profit, not to help people.
I still think it would be less depressing to be in the majority (as a Jew I can say I’m a minority) and trust that what is good for a corporation is good for the people. I can’t though (think Wells Fargo, Duke Energy and Takata). And I think this makes me the overwrought liberal Jew that I am. My bleeding heart is part of my essence. Sometimes my brain hurts because of it. On a lighter note, I proved my smug aunt wrong and stayed true to my integrity.