Where the political is personal

If you are a reader of the blog I manage, The People’s View, you’ll know that most of my writing for the past two years has been there. I’ve let this personal blog lie fallow, not having enough time to attend to it.

But what I’ve come to realize over the past few months is that the personal is political. One cannot divorce one’s personal life from the maelstrom which whirls around us.

And, I’ve found, writing here focuses my purely political writing on TPV. I need to balance that agitprop with more personal writing, where I write about things which may not seem political, but do inform my political work.

Par example:

Is this political? Not on the face of it.

But it is completely political.

I’m fortunate enough that I and my wife share political views. I’m fortunate that the things that anger me anger her. I’m fortunate that the home front is onside politically.

At the time that I met her, I was already rather politically chauvinistic. Sure, I’d had affairs with women of different political views. I was even in love with them. But, thinking back, I realize how fortunate I am that as a life partner I chose a woman with whom I wouldn’t have this divide. The fact that Teresa is on my same wavelength politically saves me so many headaches, and strengthens me.

What her and I have never agreed upon is religion. She’s a believing Christian, while I am not. But in this she has taught me. Whereas when we met I was a raging, doctrinaire atheist, her example has made me return to the realization that people of faith are legion, and not necessarily the caricatures which the New Atheists put out. For that I have only to look at my wife, and my mother, and my best friend. For that I have only to look at my high school religion teacher who would take kids to protest at the Nevada nuclear test sites on summer break. What Teresa has done is turn me into a “faitheist”: Still unable to believe in a benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient divine being, but claiming the wisdom of faith traditions as part of my patrimony.

The personal decisions you make, whether you like it or not, are informed by your politics. Aristotle called humans “political animals” for a reason. Everything is politics; not in some grand, right versus left scheme, but in trying to navigate the world in which you want something, someone else wants something else, and you negotiate to a satisfactory conclusion. Living in a society is living in politics. People who claim to eschew politics are merely cutting off their noses. What they’re saying is that they’re above the things which animate the rest of us, which are, indeed, important. The 90 million people who don’t vote in this country aren’t principled abstainers from a corrupt system; to the extent to which the system is corrupt, they abet it by not making their voices heard, allowing the status quo to continue.

There is never a point in my day where I am not cognizant of politics. And that’s as it should be. To be a free citizen in a free republic should be to be ensnared in politics. To deny that salient fact of life, to hold yourself above the fray, is a political choice, and a destructive one. Everything personal is political. Even when it’s the denial of politics.

So, as I again take up writing on this neglected blog, it will be more political. And more personal. And more literary. And more artistic. It will be where I write things which don’t fit on The People’s View. I hope you’ll do me the honor of reading my scribblings.

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