Two questions run through my head as I assess our political reality: One, how easily can I make a new life in another country that respects my children, the environment, and human rights more than guns, oil companies, and corporations? Two, can I just keep watching reruns of The West Wing and pretend Jed Bartlet is president?
After listening to yet another news cycle filled with commentary that’s quite honestly worse than hearing my kids bicker, I’m fighting my urge for a libation while drafting my very own Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with things that are vain, pointless, and embarrassing.
I hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all clothes are created equal. As long as they are clean, I will no longer let my designation as an adult keep me from wearing things with stubborn stains in prominent places, or items that have wrinkles that I just don’t care to iron. On the same note, if you gift my kids cute yet impractical clothes that need handwashing and ironing, I will kindly heave them back at you.
That putting my kitchen knives in the dishwasher may seem barbaric, and most likely to affect their safety and happiness, according to foodies everywhere. But I will remind myself, as I jam them in with the dirty spoons and forks, that they aren’t alive, and I am.
That whenever a social media post or picture becomes destructive to my inner photographer and designer, it is my right to yell, “Stop using the stupid filters” as loudly as I can to no one in particular.
That prudence and fear, indeed, have dictated that daily beauty routines must be established around $100 miracle lotions and potions, and should not be changed for light and transient causes like not giving a damn about looking youthful. But I shall no longer feel guilty for washing my face with hand soap some nights because dammit, it’s right there on the sink, and aren’t I just washing it right off?
That when a long history of charging women more for the same product than men because of pretty packaging evinces itself on store shelves yet again, it is my right—my duty—to refuse to fall for the marketing sham and to just reach for my husband’s shaving cream instead.
That I am endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable Rights, one of which does not include yelling at others for wearing flip-flops in places other than a beach or pool. But please, don’t you see there are more comfortable and better choices in footwear?
That whenever gift-giving becomes less about being thoughtful and more about everything else, it is my right to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new rules that only allow for handwritten notes of acknowledgment. In cursive. And should that make you buy gifts for my kids because you feel sorry for them, God forbid, it better not be cute clothes that need handwashing and ironing.
That Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness would be so much easier if everyone were as hardworking and kind as the people on The Great British Bake Off.
I, therefore, the representative of the United States of America in Raleigh, North Carolina, solemnly publish and declare myself free and independent from being bothered. By anything or anyone.
And for the support of this Declaration, I drink from the keg of glory. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land.
CHIKA GUJARATHI is a Raleigh-based writer and author of the Hello Namaste! children’s books. Her work can be found on her blog The Antibland Chronicles.
NEXT WEEK: JONATHAN WEILER, a teaching professor in global studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and co-author of Prius or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divideand Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics.
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