Politics is Life

A couple of years ago, at a Christmas dinner with my extended family, I apologized to my great-aunt for bringing up politics at Christmas. She gave me a stern look and said something like, we can’t afford to not talk about politics, they’re life and death. She’s a feminist, and for decades she ran a non-profit that helped women get jobs with flexible hours. I’m sad I don’t remember her exact words, because they humbled me.

Avoiding politics with family is like not looking at the homeless person on the street. They don’t stop existing, and someone’s life is on the line.

I respect that people have differences of opinion, different values, and different views of how the world should work. I respect that people don’t like each other, I respect that people feel afraid and want safety.

I don’t respect the attempt to disenfranchise American citizens, or the perspective that property damage is worse than murder. I don’t respect the idea that some lives have less value than others. I don’t respect anyone who would take away the human rights of people they despise.

Biden won. Halle-fucking-lujah. He knows how to speak with dignity, and how to acknowledge the humanity and value in everyone around him.

But he’s also not good enough. Is he going to end the concentration camps at the border? Is he going to defund the police? Is he going to make sure that every disenfranchised citizen is re-enfranchised? Is he going to make sure that everyone with a uterus has access to legal abortions? Is he going to stop pandering to the obstructive right? Probably not.

Politics isn’t about values, opinions, or perspectives. Politics is about human rights, who gets them, and who gets to decide what they are. I’m going to keep talking about them at family gatherings until human rights truly are universal. You should, too.

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Liza Olmsted

Software QA Manager Emerita, Co-founder & Acquiring Editor at Thinking Ink Press, fiber artist, writer, hiker, cat mattress. ND. she/they, aspec.

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