Politically Homeless - It's Useless To Speak Of Left Or Right
Real people, real letters, real problems, no solutions.
Politics these days have become so divided and divisive that it’s become the norm to view the other side of the aisle as “the enemy”. People are being told to “pick a side” and that there’s no room for middle ground. We here at Phetasy believe that there are a lot more people in the middle than politicians and the media would have us believe.
We’re collecting stories from the ever growing number of people who are finding themselves Politically Homeless and posting them here on Substack. If you have moved from conservative to liberal, or liberal to conservative, if you feel you’ve stayed in the same place and your party has swerved drastically away from you, if you had a moment that awakened you to the insanity and hypocrisy on both sides, if you keep your mouth shut anytime a political topic comes up because you’re afraid your opinion will cause you to lose friends or your job, you’re not as alone as you might think.
Our goal is to shine a light on people’s earnest, individual experiences and show them they’re not alone.
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you’re politically homeless and would like to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will remain anonymous.
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I went to university in the 1980s and absorbed the mores of the time.
We criticized free trade and the export of manufacturing jobs to regimes without labour standards as being insensitive to the working class in general but especially to the union movement.
We saw free speech as an extension of the right to protest, and vice versa, an essential and fundamental good.
We supported people who were attracted to their own sex; there's nothing wrong with how you are made, so whatever sane and consenting adults do in their private lives is their business.
We understood that surveillance organizations like the FBI and NSA have to exist, but never trusted or liked them.
We understood that women are built and socialized differently from men, and on that basis supported shelters, rape crisis centres, school lounges that were for the use of girls and women.
Since then I have had a certain amount of life experience but I think I am still that guy, fundamentally.
The political conversation on the so-called progressive left of today seems, to use the technical term, batshit crazy.
Today's left couldn't be more dismissive of working class values. "Deplorable" people in "flyover country" are vilified for caring about their traditions and vanishing way of life. Sure, they grow all the food and fight our wars, but what is really important is that they don't like drag storytime.
Conversely, today's left loves the urban elite, openly wished for a Deep State to illegally fetter and undermine the undeniably assholish but lawfully elected Trump, and on that basis grovels before the CIA and FBI.
No one wants trans people to suffer or be denied their human rights. But the ideology is fundamentally different than that of the LGB to whom they have attached themselves. Instead of asking to be treated normally (getting married and such) because same sex attraction is normal and harmless, the louder trans activists have somehow convinced western governments and media that they need to be given special treatment, such as claiming the pronouns and privileges of women, as their souls have a gender that does not match that of their body. And if you don't agree, they will kill themselves.
Well, with respect, that's the thinking of someone with a severe mental illness. They surely need support, including medical care for sexual reassignment for an otherwise intractable dysphoria, but no particular deference. No class of people are owed automatic fealty.
That biological men are being allowed to invade same-sex spaces for women - to take your scholarships, your sports, to speak for you at conferences - is obscene. Women have had what, a century and a half of feminism? To now be told that, actually, you're not allowed to tell men to get out of your toilets? That if you go to jail, you might be in lockup with a rapist?
My current thinking on this is that it is fairly useless to speak of left or right. What we should be thinking about are fundamental principles of fairness.
The UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights is, I think, an excellent summing up. Essentially, it advocates for independence of action and thought, subject only to just limitations necessary to protect rights of others and to have a functioning society.
I compare everything political to this standard. I appreciate that we have different ideas about what is a reasonable limit of my freedom, but as long as we're looking through that lens, I have little to fear. It's a legalistic way of problem solving, but what is law? Not the cliche of the ambulance chaser or the haughty judge, law is fundamentally about having a transparent, clear set of rules. These rules need vigilance always and reform sometimes. There's no doubt that people are still poor, oppressed, mistreated, and we should look at systemic as well as individual issues. But we can have lasting change, a hearts and minds change, if we are respectful, methodical, based on the best current evidence, and with due process.
The opposite of that is the radical, who demands change now, by any means necessary. Scream to drown out the reasonable conversation. Catastrophize every perceived social ill. Villainize and personalize all conflict, so that no normal person wants to speak up lest they be called groomer, fascist, Satanic, thus leaving the field to the angriest, most intractable people. Like Antifa, or their toxic counterparts (we should call them Profa), all filled with righteous wrath, although what I see is mostly wrath.
Such people will always exist. What we do not have to do is elect them to be our leaders and representatives. They can't hold the middle, and they don't have the intellectual tools or moral decency to want that.
Who do I vote for now? The least worst on the issues that I care about. I feel that this is a painfully and stupidly low expectation.
Anyway, this has been a long screed, hope it was not too boring.
Be well, Bridget Phetasy.
Some letters have been edited for clarity and brevity. If you'd like to share your story, email us at email@example.com. All submissions will remain anonymous.