Why Politics Are Personal

Some of us believe that a divide exists between politics and daily life. Too often I’m told that I take Politics “too personally”, that the officials we elect into office are isolated and do not reflect the views of majority, and that I cannot judge someone based on who they vote for.

Let me tell you why THAT is complete trash. Politics and government policies are not abstract concepts. They structure and compose our daily lives and rights. Who we elect as state officials, or at the federal level, are there to represent our values, which is probably why they are called representatives.

We can’t separate the political from the personal. My closest friends are well aware of the fact that I’m crazy for chocolate chip cookies & hot blazing Cheetos. My favorite color, my favorite music, favorite foods, favorite places, they all come together to make me who I am. My choices, my likes & dislikes are a reflection of my beliefs. Similarly, the politicians that I believe should be elected into office, reflect my likes, dislikes and priorities, and furthermore the policies and regulations that they pass SHOULD take into consideration to what I value. Who I vote for is as central to who I am as my favorite foods and past-times.

Your political views are based on how you see the world. If you are okay with a candidate that is sexist then that suggests to me that you are okay with women being treated unequally. If you are okay with an official that is racist, then you are demonstrating that the Latino and Black people who are discriminated against are not important to you. If you are okay with voting for someone who is homophobic then you should tell your transgender and gay friends that you don’t think their rights are necessary. If you are okay with electing an individual that is openly targeting a religion then you are expressing that the people of that faith are not valuable to society. To me each of these speak loudly of your character. They mean that you think it’s okay to create a hostile environment for some people, and that it’s okay to create a hostile environment for me.

And I’m not supposed to take that personally? 

3 thoughts on “Why Politics Are Personal

  1. While I very much agree with all of this – I sometimes find it necessary to be the devil’s advocate. So why yes, politics is personal, you can’t always take it so personal, since that is not a common belief, that politics is personal. For instance, I know people who voted for Trump in the last election, and that was very hurtful thing to me. However, when getting in conversations with them, they truly believed that the nastier things he was saying and promising were not really his agenda, and all they wanted was change from the norm. While I don’t agree with that, as it is a privilege to not acknowledge part of Trump’s agenda, it’s important to acknowledge that people aren’t always thinking in the sense that because their candidate has said racist things or homophobic things, that they are racist or homophobic (the candidate, and them as an individual). So I think in some ways the solution to that is just to have more conversations and explain to them why you don’t agree with that or how it may look to someone else. Sometimes they simply don’t care, and that’s a whole other issue on itself. Food for thought?

    • While i completely agree with you that individuals are able to look past a candidate’s flaws simply due to privilege and don’t fully comprehend the degree of it’s power; I have to disagree with the rest of your statement about coming to a more justified conclusion through conversation. The truth is victims and the oppressed are always told to be the “bigger person”. Similarly when what happened in Charlottesville, it was the oppressed groups that were told to be kinder, and speak with words and not hands in relevance to white supremacists, and the alt right. It’s not my place, nor my responsibility to educate someone on their arrogance, or derail an argument simply because they have the privilege to look past someone’s Islamophobic and racist agenda, in hopes that it isn’t true; because some of us can’t cling on to that “hope”, it directly impacts our lives in a negative manner. In addition to that why should Blacks, Latinos, Mexicans, LGBT, and Muslims have to explain to someone that they deserve respect and equal opportunity? Why should the oppressed be given the burden of social responsibility to educate their oppressors that what their doing is wrong? Why should we have to explain to anyone on how to be human?

  2. I love this conversation–and the fact that it’s happening. I hope it’s happening all over the country and the world. I wouldn’t say I have answers, but I like that you’re making me think more about where social responsibility lies when it comes to unexamined prejudice. One thing I’m sure about is that being a living example of your ideals is a great place to start (though I don’t think we have to live up to them ever second of our lives).

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