The Personal is Political

The phrase, “The Personal is Political” has been around feminist circles for decades and it popped into my head the other day while I was thinking about how my political beliefs tilt and shift from one extreme to the other like a teeter-totter. Sometimes I beat myself up and say I’m wishy-washy but really, that’s unfair and inaccurate. I’m an extremely curious person. It’s a trait I highly value in others and myself. I’m fascinated by people, what they think and believe and why, and I know this is a key component to what makes me open to divergent opinions.

However, it’s frustrating to not feel emotionally connected to an ideology sometimes. It’s the same struggle I have with spirituality. I can envy the self-assuredness of true believers and atheists alike and I’ve dabbled at both ends of the spectrum. That sense of fervent belief, or disbelief as the case may be, in a political, spiritual or philosophical ideology is just not part of my make-up and I’m trying to accept that.

I’ve decided that instead of viewing this as a deficiency of character, I should look deeper at why I hold certain viewpoints at certain times in my life. What I’ve discovered is that how I’m feeling about my life and myself directly affects the ideology that resonates with me at that time. For example, when I’m feeling frustrated, angry and depressed about how things are going for me personally, I tend to gravitate to a more conservative political ideology. When I feel more optimistic and happy, I tend to veer towards liberal thought. So, the personal is indeed political, in my case.

I have voted Democrat, Republican and Green. I have contributed to candidates and causes from Left to Right and I have friends who identify as conservatives as well as progressives. What all these people have in common is their love for truth and justice, as they perceive it, and I have the utmost respect for that.

Some may scoff at being emotionally driven when it comes to matters of world-altering consequence and that’s okay. I understand that. I tend to live in my head a lot and only accept something if it makes sense to my head first, and then to my heart. My goal is to integrate my heart and my head in an attempt to find peace internally and externally. I haven’t mastered it yet but it’s definitely worth the effort.