Ignorance is Not Bliss

by Brittany Handler

I think about politics a lot. I know that’s kind of a weird blanket duh statement, because in today’s world how can we NOT, especially in such a freak-o election year like this one. But I do and I have since I was 8 years old.

In 2000, I was eight and George Bush and Al Gore were running against each other for president. I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis and let me tell you, Al Gore was NOT a friendly name there. So when I told my friends at recess that my parents were voting for Al Gore, my friend Ashley FREAKED. She said, “HOW can your parents vote for someone who kills babies?????”

Well, 8 year old me panicked. I didn’t have an answer. How COULD my parents vote for a baby murderer?? How did I not KNOW that Al Gore was a baby murderer??? I thought my mom was such a good person, but apparently not, since she voted for someone who shot babies in the face.

I ran home that day pissed at my mom because she was so strongly supporting someone who stabbed innocent babies to death in cold blood.  When I confronted her, she laughed. This pissed me off even MORE. My mom was voting for a baby slayer, that was one thing. But then she was LAUGHING at me for being UPSET??? Nah. I started to storm off when my mom explained to me what Ashley meant.

As soon as my mom explained abortion to me and a woman’s right to chose and how Ashley’s parents neglected to explain this stuff to her, I calmed down. First off, thank GOD a murderer wasn’t running for president (although 8 year old me would never have believed a xenophobic racist who literally tells 2nd Amendment people to “take care of” his opponent 16 years later…but let’s get back to the point).  I was also confused. Confused that Ashley’s parents didn’t tell her about abortion. They simply said “Al Gore kills babies.” And that, even at 8 years old, I knew was completely inappropriate.

 I'm not sure why the fruit has been photoshopped in, but whatever - Ed.

I'm not sure why the fruit has been photoshopped in, but whatever - Ed.

Ok, fine, if you don’t agree with women getting abortions, whatever. But to just tell someone that it is murder, rather than EXPLAINING it? That’s fucked up. And that breeds ignorance which just breeds MORE ignorance and then even MORE ignorance until we’re just a bunch of ignorant fucks who don’t really know facts about anything and kind of just spew whatever bullshit word vomit comes out of our mouths.

So why are we listening to this whole long story? Well partly to get who I am, and where I come from. (My name is Brittany, I’m a Jewish girl from the Midwest, I love the outdoors, dogs, and Thomas Jefferson.)  But also because I think this story of Ashley is actually very telling of this year’s election.

Ignorance leads to hate. We hate because we’re scared, because we don’t know something and it freaks us out.

And let’s take a look at all the hate in this election. People yelling slurs at black people, at Mexican people, at Muslims, at women, at members of the LGBTQ community—really at anyone who isn’t a straight white dude who loves the guns, monotheism (but only the right theism!), and money. People yelling “hang the bitch” at Trump rallies. People literally LIGHTING MUSLIM PEOPLE ON FIRE IN THE STREETS. (Look it up, I kid you not, in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York on September 10th.)

How do people become hateful, fearful fucks who light people on fire? Ignorance.

I’m not saying Ashley’s parents created Donald Trump. They created Ashley and her sister Amanda. And Ashley and Amanda are nice people (although very conservative and I haven’t spoken to Ashley in at least 6 years, so she truly could be a bad person at this point.) I am saying though, that Ashley’s parents had a responsibility to educate her, as do all Americans. To educate their children, even if they might have to educate them on hard to approach topics. Because without education, we get ignorance. And with ignorance, we get hate.