Why be political?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Things have to be going really well in your life before you can think of political activity as a choice. If you are doing very well, you might like to believe that the current structure of the world is a natural one, and not amenable to political action. That is a self-gratifying belief. But unless you are lucky, you often have politics pushed upon you, often with very little choice on your part.

I like the way “Raquel” sums up their experience:

it is tiring, being endless political just as someone existing. my teacher asks me if i’m writing more of that “feminist poetry.” a lot of it is just talking about me, being a woman, being afraid in the city. i write about walking a line, about how i am expected to choose between home and work, how each comes with a slew of its own insults; how it feels when i am wearing shorts and there are too many men outside. these are just facts of my life. someone in the comments says, “where are woman even coming up with these crazy generalizations in their feminism?”

i hold hands with the prettiest girl i’ve ever seen and someone sighs when they see me. “do they have to make everything gay?” she asks her friend, loudly, “like, do you have to force those views in my face all the time?” i can’t stop blushing. my girlfriend holds my fingers tighter, tighter, tighter, until my knuckles are white, and i let her. somehow, this is us, protesting.

my father’s cuban blood stains my skin, i think. when i am honored with a position in the dean’s private council, a boy sneers, “you only got in because you’re hispanic.” did i? i spend the rest of our meetings wondering if i was selected for my stellar academic record, for the multiple recommendations, for the clubs i lead – or if i was just a move the dean made, to make use of me. when we all take a picture, the dean brings me in the front. in the first three we take, i am not smiling.

it is odd. “i exist.” i say, “i deserve to exist.”

“oh my god,” he groans, “we get it, you’re a feminist.”

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