I have a lot of conservative friends, and I know some of them are rolling their eyes when they see how fired up I am about the government mess we're in right now. They know I tend to get fired up about all the things that matter to me, that I can be called extremist, but politics? Why politics?
I'm passionate about reducing food waste, because 25% of our landfills are food waste, and that's creating a tremendous amount of dangerous methane in our air. Pair that problem with the number of people who are struggling to get enough to eat, and I have to be fired up. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't address these problems that could so easily solve each other.
I'm passionate about homelessness, and helping people realize that homelessness is the problem, not homeless people. I know there are solutions that would cost taxpayers less than we're paying now for the repercussions of the problem, but we have to think outside the box and be willing to take chances on radical ideas.
I'm passionate about marginalized populations and have a big problem with people thinking it's OK to treat specific groups as less valuable, less important, less human. Or thinking that we get to tell other people whether their circumstances and choices are good or bad, ethical or immoral.
But most of all, I'm passionate about 21st century America, the freedoms and privileges it offers and the potential for greatness in each of us. I'm very uncomfortable with a president who believes his ratings are more important than legal non-citizens' rights to come home to their families. Who believes shock value works in government the same way it works in reality TV. I'm worried about a bunch of billionaires with no public service experience all of a sudden running our government.
I don't believe our country is safe with this leadership team. Oh, I'm safe. I'm white, a citizen, educated, with supportive family and friends. No, I'm talking about the other HALF of our population. People who weren't born in the U.S., people who can't read, people who are decent and hard-working but unable to rise out of poverty. People of color, a wide range of ethnic groups who enrich and deepen the quality of our country. Veterans left to live on the streets. Young women trapped in prostitution. People not on either end of the gender spectrum but falling somewhere in between, falling where we don't even have an appropriate pronoun, falling through the cracks of our male-or-female, black-or-white, right-or-wrong artificial sense of order. People who made mistakes and got dragged down to a dark underworld of addiction and can no longer see any light.
Half of our country is under attack. Civil rights violations are running rampant, because this administration is allowing white supremacists to believe that they have permission to act out, to hurt innocent people, to judge and condemn and ostracize decent, kind people just because of some made-up difference that they think matters. We don't have the right to do this to anybody, ever, but especially not to the people who have already suffered at our hands for generations. People of African descent have put up with crap from us white people forever. They've fought hard and paid a high price for their rights and their freedoms. You think they're going to just sit back and let that all fade away? Not on your life. Native Americans have sacrificed everything to try to get along with us white folks. We've stabbed them in the back every time. You think they're going to let go of the little land and scrap of dignity they still cling to? Don't hold your breath.
Just because all the garbage going on in Washington right now doesn't hurt us doesn't make it OK. It's not OK. It's absolutely 100% NOT OK, and we owe it to our country to fight for freedom, for fairness, for choice, for rights. We owe it to those who cannot stand on their own to stand up for them. How can we live with ourselves if we don't?
Susie Snortum is passionate about improving society's compassion for meeting basic human needs -- food, shelter, clean water, and dignity.