So tired. So done.
Last year, I had the energy and anger to argue with people, pull out facts, retort their misinformed comments, backhanded insults and racism, and keep coming back for more.
I can’t do this anymore. I’m just too tired.
I go to my Aunt’s house one a year right around Christmas for dinner. They’re all Trump supporters, but the backwoods Pennsylvania Trump supporters that don’t actually understand the issues and grumble about guns and tax cuts. Last year, I got into a heated debate, me against about 25 people, and I was winning by a landslide. Throwing out facts, debunking their claims that had no factual basis, and I was getting a high off of it. It was fun and I felt good defending what I believe in.
Now, a year later, a year of constantly defending my beliefs (and basic human rights in general) with people who are completely ignorant and retain absolute 0 of my factual arguments, I just can’t take it anymore. I’m not talking about generic disagreements, but ones that are the most fundamental (i.e. human equality), arguing against ideas rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. It’s everywhere, all the time.
Before dinner last night, I got into a debate with a relative about politics, but I was tired, sober, and sick of going through the same thing over and over. Every time I’d try to get out of the conversation, it’d be “You see, you really don’t know anything about it,” and then I’d have to get into it again, explaining why mass shootings are not the same thing as car accidents caused by using a cell phone.
Luckily, politics weren’t brought up too much that night. I think everyone was a little wary of me after what happened last year, and that’s fine by me.
But, what if they had brought it up? Am I obligated to defend my beliefs against other people every time the topic comes up? If I stay silent, am I passively supporting what they’re saying, even if it’s just a holiday dinner with family?
I worry about “picking my battles,” because that implies that certain issues are more important than others, and that puts civil rights on a hierarchy. And I can’t just defend issues that are the most directly related to me (e.g. women’s rights and LGBTQ rights). But, does that mean that I have to go after everything? Silence equals complicancy, but what if I’m just silent sometimes? Is that something I’m willing to compromise on?
I guess this only becomes a source of internal conflict for me when I’m the only one in a group of people that has a differing viewpoint. When there are others on my side, we can take turns, support each other, and it’s easier. But when it’s just me against a group and I have to combat everyone collectively, it’s really difficult. This happens at every family gathering obviously, but it also happens in my liberal bubble at school. It’s everywhere, all the time, and so I always have to be on guard for it.
My question is: is it okay to sometimes remain silent on these issues, or is that essentially betraying my personal beliefs? Does anyone else share my total exhaustion, or am I letting my privilege get the better of me?