Perspectives: Politics
Seekin' Resolution

October 9, 2008 Print version       Other articles by this author

Over the past year I've paid much closer attention than ever before to the election process and especially, the candidates. That leads me to where we are now...I'm in a bit of an awkward place with regard to the upcoming election. Tuesday, November 4th is also my birthday, the day on which I will turn 34 years of age. When I think about all of it, I can't help but to think back a bit...

Four years ago, everything was different. Four years ago, I was working a full time job and I was making a decent amount of money. I was still performing here and there whenever I could and whenever I had the time. Due to the fact that I worked a "nine to five" and didn't have the time or means pound the pavement as many actors do and seek out auditions, gigs, voice overs, readings, etc, I was relatively unhappy. Oftentimes, I'd go to work at my daytime job where I was frustrated, & stressed and then at night I'd be in rehearsal for a show or reading I was involved with and be vibrant, and full of energy. Even if what I was doing by night wasn't paying much in terms of monetary compensation, I had a kind of focus and drive that I held onto for dear life because I felt as if it was all that was keeping me afloat. I wasn't doing what it was that I loved to do but I was 'makin it' or gettin' by most of the time. I was single, HIV negative, and the last thing I could have possibly cared about was politics. Across the board, I was the kind of person who felt completely disconnected from the majority of what I had come to know about what happens in government. In the very simplest of terms, I didn't give a fuck.

Prior to 2004, I had never participated in an election in the way of voting for a number of reasons, the most important one being that I felt like it wouldn't really matter in the larger scheme of things. My attitude was one of indifference, plain and simple. As we all know and have seen, a lot can change in four years. In my world specifically a whole host of things happened that I now know were far more connected than I realized at the time.

Almost immediately after the last presidential election in 2004, everything in my world began to change. I quit my job after having worked for a certain artistic 'establishment' for exactly two years. I willingly took a pay cut and got another job in the same kind of 'establisment' with a similar kind of job title (that came with even more responsibility than the previous position), all in hopes of having a different kind of outcome.

What would follow just one day after starting this new job was something that would change my life forever. When I tested positive for HIV in late November of 2004, healthcare suddenly became a huge priority. Even though I had health insurance through the said
'establishment' I'd been working for and recently left, when it came to a halt only days before my new health insurance would kick in and be active from the new job, it was then that I started to really pay attention. What this meant was that I couldn't even see a doctor without having to pay out of my pocket for the next visit. Ordinarily putting off a doctor visit for a random checkup for an additional week or so wouldn't be a big deal. However, after having received a positive diagnosis for HIV and needing various subsequent tests and labs performed to ascertain how advanced the virus was within my system, it was to say the least serious business. None of this is to suggest that the manner in which the situation unfolded was anyone's fault (other than my own for not asking more questions about my insurance matters and reading the fine print). The point I'm making here is that only then did I start pay more attention to what was going on because suddenly there was much more for me to be concerned with overall. Since then, I have gone from being employed full time (with health insurance) to making my living solely through means of self employment, multiple part time jobs, and performance. One of the biggest challenges that has come along with this transition has been securing affordable health coverage with a 'pre-existing' health condition. The costs associated with simply affording tests, labwork, prescriptions, and regular overall doctor visits have been almost insurmountable and yet somehow I've managed to secure health coverage.

I can only speak for myself, but...
this is where I am today, four years later with regard to politics and government---

-due to the fact that I'm a black, openly gay male...

-due to the fact that I'm a self employed artist who is at the head of a grassroots arts/education/outreach organization...

-due to the fact that I pay for health insurance out of my pocket and still can't afford HIV medications(through that insurance) which are necessary for me to remain alive and healthy without access to the DC AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP)...

-due to the fact that I've been living with HIV for almost four years now...

---for all those reasons and so many more, I can't afford to not give a fuck anymore.

Moreover, when I think about the challenges that have underscored the lives of many in history simply in terms of the right to vote, it reminds me how important it is for me personally to take action, pay attention, and know what is going on.

With the issues, news, debates, campaigns and the candidates all to take into consideration there is alot to consider. I vacillate these days between getting involved/paying attention and not letting the whole thing consume me.
Of course I know what I'd love to see happen...(as would many of us)
but my thoughts and feelings about all of this are very similar to those surrounding my life as a whole these days. I'm setting the intention not to focus on the outcome and what happens,
(since that is deeply rooted in uncertainty & the unknown) but rather on my reaction to all of it...
Either way because of ALL of the aforementioned circumstances, I'll have something to celebrate.

How's that for finding resolve.....?