I wish that I could say that the genesis for Pop Into Politics came out of some masterplan, some deep well of positive inspiration that I wanted to share with world. In truth, in the Trump era it came out of a sense of anger, fear, disbelief, and powerlessness. How could this be the United States of America I have loved and believed in all my life? How could the America that saved the world from Nazi tyranny, conducted the Berlin Airlift, and once led the world in science and innovation become the country where wearing a mask was seen as “political” and may result in an ass beating at Target from a fellow citizen who simply thinks you’re a liberal snowflake?
As 2020 continued to flow into a cesspool of madness, for my own sanity, I felt like I needed to do something in my small little corner of the universe. I have had so many sleepless, restless night worrying about the future. If I had something to say, then I needed to stop being a backbencher (look at me making sports references) and say it – too much was at stake. After all, as we all should have learned this year, tomorrow is never promised.
I was a Political Science major in college and my love for this country, politics, and history may come naturally, but what causes most people to recoil from politics are the things I love. I want to know why one policy or action is better than another. I respect and want to see a strong two-party system that believes in ideas and principles. I believe in our republican form of government, not a system where everyone gets what they want all the time, but one where the government at least pretends to be responsive to the people. When that does not occur we should fight within the tools of our system to make it so. One of those biggest tools is sustained participation, interest, and to fight against our own cynicism.
The word politician has become reviled in American culture, but even politicians are people – at least most. I am not sure what material Mitch McConnell is made out of besides of heap of bile, but that is a mystery to be solved another day. But politicians are people with enough guts to get in the game and to fight for what they believe in. What makes them tick? Where do they come from and how do their backstories influence their politics? There are reasons why FDR, while not perfect, is generally beloved and Donald Trump, well, not so much.
This is not the first time I started a blog. Right after the shitshow that was the 2016 election I created a blog called, you guessed it, Pop Into Politics. The goal was to talk about politics and pop culture together, everyone needs fun right? And at first it was fun and Trump seemed to provide fodder by the hour, but at some point the gravity of what was happening in our country didn’t generate so many laughs for me personally. I also had a supervisor who was concerned about my blog posts in relation to my job, perhaps I would offend in the wrong hands. I pulled down the posts and the blog.
Fast forward to 2020 and the world we live in now is nothing I could have ever imagined. I never thought I would see the day a modern President defended torch wielding Neo-Nazis. I never thought we would proudly separate children from their mother’s at a boarder and place them in camps – under any circumstances. I foolishly, as a proud American, thought the richest nation in the history of the world would rally and take care of its citizens during a pandemic. I have been mistaken and away from the window as the storm clouds approached.
A madman, an absolute madman, was elected (which should have never occurred in the first place) as the President we are all now supposed to look to for leadership in this crisis and others. As Rome burns, our President, an incubus of plague and ignorance holds rallies on the South Lawn, tweets, and drinks Cokes all night. Whatever diety you believe in, I suppose it is time to pray.
As if the President and his cronies were thugs, they have carried out unspeakable horrors using our government as the weapon over these almost four years. It’s as if they want to say, I DARE YOU TO BE OUTRAGED? WHAT WILL YOU SAY OR DO ABOUT IT? Of course, these people aren’t supposed to be thugs, they are our representatives in our republican form of government. However, this time I see the storm clouds from my window more clearly than I did in 2016. The bullying comes first, then comes the tyranny. When nothing is true, nothing is sacred, then your government and your fellow citizen will begin to do, and accept, anything – nothing is off limits. It’s a dangerous place to be.
So I realized, as was in the case in 2016 but with more urgency, I had something to say. There are things that need to be said. Why not get them down on paper and into a podcast? In the words of the incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I dissent.
So here I am, eighteen episodes into a podcast called Pop into Politics, but with new meaning that we all need to find the time to “pop” into politics – to make the time to care, to find a cause to champion because America needs us. We need one another. It seemed fitting to restart the blog as well.
The people who know me best know I am silly. I am also a bit of a geek (clearly), but I don’t see why we can’t talk about politics and reference a Madonna song or a Kardashian here or there. Hey, whatever it takes to make the point!
I believe that through conversation, and action – big and small, we can make change. The alternative is to sit back, silently, and allow for the destruction of truth, civil rights, the environment, and damn it – just plain old common sense. I certainly cannot live with that and why would anyone want to? More importantly, I suddenly don’t feel so powerless and I hope you don’t either.