CTWorkingMoms has a fairly consistent “no politics” policy within our blogger team. There are several reasons for it, and one of them is that it’s difficult to talk about politics without judgment. It is also difficult to talk about politics without drawing judgment. As a group that believes non-judgment trumps, we avoid the political band wagons. Sometimes, avoiding politics is hard, and in the face of #blacklivesmatter, the current Connecticut biennial budget discussions and federal proposals to defund basic needs, it feels important to call everyone back to basics. As we navigate our various worldviews, here’s a few reminders I would like to offer for all of us:
1. Politics are Personal: Whoever invented the phrases “it’s not personal, it’s politics” and “it’s not personal, it’s business” were trying to distance themselves from the impact of their choices. It isn’t personal if you don’t feel the sting, but it is forever personal for the person affected by your vote or the signature of your pen.
2. Impact Outweighs Intent: I cannot even begin to count how often I hear the words, “that wasn’t my intention.” I get it. I may even believe you. However, the moment you learn that your impact was different from your intent, please reflect on your choices. You can even take the next step to change. Perhaps the unintended consequence means you should make a few tweaks.
3. Blame doesn’t solve problems: We are a culture that wants to know whose fault it is instantly, and then follows up with a heavy dose of shaming. Notice, however, that blaming and shaming cannot fix a problem. While fingers are being pointed, folks are still suffering. Let’s save the time, energy, and hatred and get to making things better.
4. Listening is never followed by “to play the devil’s advocate:” There is a significant difference between listening to find your window to counter, and listening to truly hear where the other person is coming from. If I was to label what I saw as the biggest cultural problem we face, it’s that we’ve forgotten how to truly listen to the experience of another. We’ve become a supersized national debate team.
5. Remember the Wisdom of Children: My children truly are my gurus, and they remind me often of my values and commitments. Saturday, my son ran a 5k and pulled an award in his age group. Super proud, he began visiting the health fair booths with his placement medal. One he visited was “Real Strength”, the violence prevention arm of the agency I work for. He was asked for his thoughts about what defines “Real Strength” and without hesitation he wrote his answer: Love, Peace, Joy, Justice. Let us remember all of those principles are choices. We can be the change our children deserve to see.
For a little more on how politics are personal, please see Stephanie’s post from last week here.