Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Man, I Feel Like A Woman

I've recently come to the conclusion that I'm a big ol' girl.

Okay, that was a little dramatic. But it's still at least slightly true. Apparently all the literature says so and supports my self-diagnosis.

The single biggest indicator of this circumstance is my relationship with my best friend from high school, Mark. He lives in Seattle. At times I wonder why he's still my friend, seeing as we can never talk without fighting.

But that's the point: We have vastly different communication styles. Were we both of the "masculine" communication style, we might get along much better than we do. But we aren't.

I was recently bitching and moaning to him about the District's voting rights -- or lack thereof. "Half a million taxpaying U.S. citizens are denied an effective voice on the floor of Congress!" I railed. "One person one vote is a sham in this country!"

Mark's response boiled down to: "So? Move."

His argument further consisted of: "You knew what you were getting into. You're an adult, you're educated, and you made the conscious decision to relocate to the District and buy property there. If you were some uneducated black guy living in S.E. D.C. who was born and raised there and was systematically disenfranchised, I'd have more sympathy for you, but you should simply know better."

My response -- "and if a black man in 1950 for whatever reason made the choice to move to Alabama with its Jim Crow laws and its public lynchings, well, heck, he deserved whatever he got, up to and including execution" -- could not sway Mark. Moreover, he had no problem with my assertion that he was using my education and my race against me in a fight for equal voting rights -- as if certain people deserved representational voting rights more than others. If you're black and historically disenfranchised, you present a better argument for getting the vote than some uppity Asian lawyer who chose to move to the District. The uppity Asian lawyer can go voteless if need be. If we handed out votes one by one to District residents, I'd be one of the last to receive it, because I deserve it less.

But, I digress.

My point is this: I was bitching and moaning. That's really all I was doing. It's frustrating to me that taxpaying citizens of the United States can't vote in matters of national policy. Still more infuriating is that we don't have an effective voice in matter governing our own local affairs (Congressional oversight of the entire District budget).

Mark's response was not helpful to me. His response was basically, "Shit or get off the pot." Do something. Fix the problem. Moving to an actual State is a quick fix to the problem. Slower fixes include lobbying or otherwise getting the word out. But, in Mark-world, bitching and moaning did nothing. Do something.

The conclusion I draw from this? There are times I need to vent. And when those times come, I just want to be heard. And all I need is an occasional, "Yeah, I understand." And what I don't need is "Get off the pot."

Like I said, I'm a big ol' girl that way.

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