Politically Homeless - Embrace Humanity
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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A euphemism for homeless is “in-between houses,” and I would love to say I’m in-between houses politically right now. The truth is though, I’m not looking for a house anymore.
I grew up in a hyper-conservative Reagan and Bush-loving household in California. Clinton was the worst not simply for his policies, but largely for his licentiousness. Free market capitalism was the only possible economic model that made any sense (despite everyone in my family being poor). Alcohol was a gateway drug to… something… I didn’t know what to do since we never talked about anything like that - too taboo.
As an adult, I worked in bookstores that attracted more liberal crowds, restaurants that attracted more libertine bunches, and finally colleges that of course attracted an even more liberal group. I have to be honest and say I’m embarrassed of the things I thought about so many people I worked with. I had not really interacted with, let alone befriended, someone that wasn’t a Republican until I was firmly in my twenties and I had no idea what to do besides act as evangelic for the Right. I read Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly, I watched Fox exclusively, I defended wars abroad as noble, I defended blatantly bad corporate activity as inevitable free market consequences, and I defended prisons and the war on drugs as cleaning up the streets. The truth is, I didn’t see people left-of-center as people at all, but as something that needed to be corrected. And I tried to correct them earnestly.
It took years of deprogramming my mind as an independent adult to see anyone that voted Democrat as anyone but immoral, evil, or at best severely misguided. But ever so slowly, I began to see them not as a problem thing, but as a person.
My first real challenge was dating a girl who was raised virtually the opposite of me. We clicked in every single way on what seemed like everything. Getting closer felt so natural and easy - except for this knot in my stomach that kept getting bigger and bigger - we hadn’t really discussed politics yet. I had to confront what was actually important to me and what I could be flexible on if I wanted this relationship to work and this knot to go away. The big breakthrough was realizing what political thoughts I could possibly leave behind - something I hadn’t fathomed possible since I was *so well informed and obviously correct about anything political.* Despite being able to befriend and see beyond politics in a person, I was still quite stubborn in my beliefs. The relationship didn’t work out for various reasons, politics not being one of them, but it forced me to confront what I always held to be a core part of who I thought I was: my politics.
After that relationship ended, I felt like I had a new pair of glasses to look at the world through. Seeing everyone as just people living in a world without labeling them as “R” or “D” was unbelievably freeing. I didn’t think about how they voted in the last election and I didn’t wonder what their thoughts on abortion are.
I left the Republican party around when I turned thirty, and briefly flirted with the Libertarian Party. I realized after a few months, though, that I was in fact… Politically Homeless. No single political charter felt like it matched who I wanted to be as a voter or person in general.
Now, I gladly reject the Left-Right spectrum as a tool to identify a person. I don’t believe we all exist somewhere on this imaginary flat line like some plot point. Sure, I can take a thirty question online test that will tell my supposed political location, but that removes the humanity that I now identify with more. It took me a long time to find the humanity in people I disagreed with, and I refuse to let this imaginary line remove mine.
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.