Sometimes People Think I’m a Sociopath: My View on Making Politics Personal

tumblr_lq22xl5vJz1qcnhhzo1_r2_500Objectively I know I’m not a sociopath, even a high functioning on like Sherlock.*

Sociopaths don’t cry over commercials about babies or articles about strangers giving their kidney to a dying man.

They just don’t.

Because they don’t care.

But sometimes the thought crosses my mind, especially when I’m talking to other people about politics. Normally I brush the thought aside as a recognition that other people are far too emotional about politics and they ignore rational responses to political problems or antagonism from people who don’t like them.

In simpler terms, they get their feelings hurt a lot.

I don’t.

I get mad at hypocrisy and low standards and inaccurate reporting and lies, but I don’t take it personally.

I tend to break politics down to it’s base components, ignoring all the personal prejudices about “fairness” and “feelings” because to me those things just have no place in politics. They are vague, ever-shifting, and they don’t provide a basis for a functioning and stable civilization that can adapt and allow people to have different views and opinions.

I’m continuously frustrated by other political players, both right and left, because they can’t seem to uphold that same type of thinking.

Which is probably why this thought about this accusation as I was reading an article on Rare by Jimmy LaSalvia. He was talking about the emotionally hazardous ground of being a gay conservative and I wasn’t surprised that he felt that way, because I know that many do, I just can’t see a benefit in that for yourself (LaSalvia considered is “hazardous to your health” to be a gay conservative) or for politics in general.

That’s one of the things that always gave me difficulty in my support of GOProud. The intensely emotional way that Jimmy and Chris dealt with politics. It led to more arguments, insults, and hatred between people who should have been agreeing on more things than they disagreed on.

And who should have been able to agree to disagree on those few topics, whether they had to do with the personal issue of being gay or not.

I’ve had people tell me that I’m cold. That they don’t know how I can look at an issue that anyone would take personally and not let it affect me.

Even when the issue is someone insulting me.

Maybe it’s an over developed sense of importance that leads me to simply think that anyone who is dumb enough to fling poorly constructed insults just isn’t worth my time or an emotional reaction, but it just doesn’t matter to me and hasn’t for years.

People who hate me for whatever reason, whether they are social conservatives with no concept of real conservative principles or liberals who think I’m a ‘self-loathing closet case’, are not worth my attention and frankly they have nothing to do with how I see politics, because I recognize their right to have an opinion that I disagree with and I recognize that no matter what I do in this world, I will always have enemies and people who despise me.

Personal opinions don’t hurt me, so I ignore them. Some people are way to invested in other people’s opinions.

Contrary to LaSalvia’s view though, I take great personal offense when it comes to taxes and trade and other fiscal issues.

In 2004 I began speaking out on behalf of gay conservatives, and in 2009 I founded GOProud, a national organization representing gay conservatives and their straight allies. I’ve worked on issues such as advocating for civil marriage for gay couples and the inclusion of gays in the conservative movement.

Of course these issues are very very personal to me and to most of the people who do this type of work.  People who oppose our positions may not think they’re making a personal attack in their opposition, but those issues are personal by their very nature. Unlike issues such as taxes or trade, these affect us as human beings and opposition hits us in unusually deep ways.

Rare

Those opinions and the politics that are driven by them affect my life, and my family’s life, in a deeply personal and hurtful way. It’s on those topics (not gay marriage or acceptance of my sexuality) where I struggle the most with my temper and my emotions, where I have to fight the hardest to be empirical instead of just lashing out with harsh words and insults.

LaSalvia had to back away from the world of gay conservative politics in order to distance himself emotionally and personally I think it was a good choice. He wasn’t doing himself or gay conservatives (or conservatives in general) a favor by getting so emotionally involved that he began to lash out in response.

I’m glad he’s learned the value of keeping his personal feelings out of politics, but he learned it by leaving any  form of politics that affects him personally…which is more like avoidance than actual learning.

We are always going to have issues we disagree on, but they are tiny and insignifcant compared to the big issues that affect the whole country. We need to turn off the personal offense for a while, until we sort out the big ticket items.

Then we can go back to getting our feelings hurt.

*My Meyer’s Briggs test actually classifies me more like Watson…

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