“If politics may be broadly defined as ‘the way we are with each other’ then anything that affects how we connect with each other is political.”
– Phyllis Jane Rose
This comes from a little book I read each day. It reflects the definition of politics that I learned early on in school. We forget this as we watch the news and get all tangled up in wrangling over different opinions. But this little quote reminds me that our life in our families, in our towns or cities, our states, country and world is really about people. It suggests that there is a link between how we treat one another day by day. The judgments we lay on those with different political or religious views reflect those we lay on our family members. The reaction of those others whom we judge is reflective of the reaction of our family members whom we have judged. Reactions look like this: Self-defensiveness, our self righteoousness matched by self-righteousness in the other, talking to others to get them to take our side, multiplying the sickness in us like cancer, name-calling, shutting others out of our lives even if we continue to fester about them, violent retaliation, an eye-for-an-eye action. holding things in where our anger can fester. This last one leads to physical reactions like heart problems and depression.
Politics doesn’t have to be that way…it can be positive. It can be about reaching out and showing interest in what people believe and why, openness to their ideas. I can be about forgiveness, about reconciling, about love. I speak here about families, neighbors, councils, or countries…it is the same.
I know from experience that as I have worked on my own attitude toward others, I have gradually been able to transfer my attitude toward the large circles of my life. It began with my making peace with myself. It is a strange and miraculous thing. As the song goes, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”