Politically Homeless - Live And Let Live
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.
Beyond Parody with Bridget Phetasy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Hello Phetasy folks!
I love you guys. I wear my Dumpster Fire jean jacket almost every day and tell people what it is whenever I get asked.
Teeny weeny backstory: I am a tail end Boomer. I am a woman, (and I know what that means). I am a small business owner, (and unpaid tax collector for the local, state and federal governments). I sell my paintings of dogs and horses and whatever on note cards, cutting boards, actually hand painted ceramics and other stuff.
Born in North Carolina, raised in Miami, (happy upper middle class childhood – no trauma) college in the suburbs of Boston (did not have “my priors” shaken - was called a Nazi for voting for Reagan…it was sort of in jest), grad school in Brooklyn, (ditto). Left Brooklyn for Connecticut. Left Connecticut for my little piece of heaven in a ruby red county in a purplish state.
So I am politically homeless because...
I was raised politically homeless…that is the only way I can explain it. My parents both had principles they wanted to instill in us as their kids but they didn’t seem to attach those principles to politics and definitely not to particular political parties. You could call my Mom a traditional bleeding heart liberal. Dad was a bit more skeptical about those sorts of causes (you could call him a Reagan Democrat—don't know for sure if he ever switched parties on paper). I used to compare their discussions at dinner to the arguments Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock were always having on the bridge of the Enterprise – Logic vs Emotion. (For the record I traditionally sided with logic…me and Wittgenstein…didn’t last).
As children of immigrants (my grandparents on Mom’s side left England after WW1 and my grandparents on my Dad’s side left a little town in Northern Italy about the same time), neither one of my parents ever hated America. They knew bad shit happened and continued to happen…but they loved this country. They loved the promise, no, the goal, of this country. And so do I.
Back to political participation… My home was a very anti-authoritarian home. I read the Gulag Archipelago at a stupidly early age because it sat out on our coffee table in the living room and I was bored one afternoon. It was like reading the Diary of Anne Frank which was required reading in my grade school. Both made me furious. People are such a-holes.
I remember my Dad cheering on Israel during the Six Day War…he was so proud of that plucky little country. I was seven. I never understood anti-Semitism (still don’t). We weren’t particularly religious…secular Christians I reckon. I didn’t have any idea anyone on the Italian side was Catholic until I met a great aunt when I was in my 20’s…she had the rosaries and everything! My Italian Grandpa said he was an anarchist…but he wanted a police force…does that make him a Libertarian?
In my senior year of high school, I guess you could’ve called me a Libertarian…I was certainly influenced by Ayn Rand at that time and into at least year one in college…although her shining utopia in Atlas Shrugged never really seemed possible. It is also very ironic that it was my bleeding heart liberal Mom who kept nagging me to read The Fountainhead all my young life. It took a Canadian Rock Band dedicating an album to Ayn Rand to get me to pull the old books off the shelves.
But the real event my senior year in high school that clarified my relationship to “politics in general” was the drive home from an awards ceremony for the best and the brightest of all Miami-Dade County’s Seniors. The awards are the Silver Knight Awards sponsored by the Miami Herald to honor not simply the top students in the county but the top students who give back to the community. (Side note – I was coerced into participating…because at that time I had no interest in giving back to the community and I thought the whole thing was a farce…I am a little softer in my criticisms about the endeavor these days).
Anyhooooo, 6 or 7 of us were carpooling home from the event and yapping about where we got into college…what we might study….what we might do with our lives…like we had any clue. The class president and chauffeur suddenly said something in this vein… “Guys! We should all go into politics! We are the smart folks…we can figure out how to fix all the things!” It is such a shame his (parents’?) Mercedes did not have a barf bag. I have no idea whether he ever went into politics. I know I did not and I have done my best to keep it at arm’s length.
I have always been politically homeless in my chosen profession(s) – artist, giftware business owner, “creative” - most of my friends are “liberal” or left leaning. And guess what. I still love them. I still love them after they lecture me about cold hearted Republican policies and then in the same breath tell me they can’t afford to pay their employees “on the books” (I.e. pay payroll taxes). Politicians do not have an exclusive on hypocrisy. I still love them. They are my friends.
I do find myself keeping quiet when controversial topics erupt. Mainly because they erupt during events that they really shouldn’t erupt at. I was at a wedding the day the Kavanaugh hearings ended and my beautiful friends sounded like raving lunatics discussing Susan Collins’s “betrayal” and such. Sure I could have said something about…”innocent until proven guilty…fair trial…equal justice under the law”…for what? So we’d get into a loud fight and ruin another woman’s evening. Just not worth it.
To be fair, I am equally sick of the stupidity of many on the right. Fox News lost all credibility with me when Juan Williams (who had been cancelled by PBS!) all of a sudden started sounding like Debbie Wasserman Shultz on air. We are losing ground on all sides to the sophists.
What to do? I don’t know… I am a live and let live kinda gal. And my vision for the country is for it to be a live and let live kinda country. Which I always thought it was…but now there are so many people who think they know best how we all should live and so many places for them to tell us about it. …sigh.
For the record…I voted for Trump in 2016 (my exact quote as I checked the box “Let’s see what this A-hole can do”). After 2020, I will never vote for him again. I never understood why so many people think he is standing up for them…he is only standing up for himself. Think it through people! It’s ok to make a deal with the devil as long as you understand you just made a deal with the devil…and there are consequences. But to keep carrying water for him when he has revealed himself and his worst tendencies…that is on you all.
Get out your guitar and play, get on your knees and pray you don’t get fooled again.
Congrats on surviving all the life changes and keep up the good work!
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.