The Apache Pow Wow

What Are Your Politics?

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What Are Your Politics?

Anabell Xu, Staff Writer

Politics has always been a touchy subject. That sentiment is perfectly exemplified today, with our online echo chambers and gratuitous stereotyping.

Our hostile environment surrounding politics has also spurred many to call for unity among Americans. Envision this: there’s a post on Twitter that features a picture of two neighbors. One is holding a campaign poster for a Republican senator and another for a Democratic senator. They’re standing on their lawns, grinning, and the caption discusses how the two neighbors are great friends and even babysit each other’s kids. The post calls for unity and asks the nation to look to these neighbors as an example of how politics doesn’t need to drive us apart as people.

How do you react?

I’d imagine that many of us would sigh in relief and wholeheartedly applaud the sentiment in the post. “Yes!” we’d cheer. “The nation still has some sense! Who cares about politics (to some degree because it’s still important)? Three cheers for unity!”

It’s a perfectly understandable reaction. It was mine, honestly. But it’s not everyone’s.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re an undocumented immigrant who lives in the U.S. For your own personal safety or prosperity, you’ve been forced to move to another country illegally. In 2016, you witnessed the election of a president who promised to forcefully return you and your family to a nation that you’ve had to flee from. For two years, you’ve heard stories of friends who have had their families split as deportations rise. The political sentiment that could destroy your family seems to be confined to one specific party. And now there’s a post on Twitter asking you to stand in your lawns with someone who supports these policies and babysit their kids.

Or perhaps you’re a steel worker struggling to make ends meet with your family. You’re worried about your employment because your company has been gradually transitioning your income source to other countries. You’re barely able to pay your taxes and support your kids at the same time. In 2016, you voted for the current president because you couldn’t afford higher taxes. For two years, you’ve witnessed the political climate grow increasingly stacked against you as many began to call you and everyone who voted with you hateful, racist, fascist bigots. This hurtful, destructive sentiment seems confined to a single party. And now there’s a post on Twitter asking you to stand on your lawns with someone who supports these policies and babysit their kids.

I don’t think anyone could claim that these people aren’t justified in rejecting the post’s call for unity and peace. Sometimes, the toll that our politics has taken is just too much for us to reconcile with those who believe it. It hurts to say, but I believe that some of us have been driven so far apart that reconciliation may not even be possible.

So what now?

Honestly? I don’t know. Personal hurts are so much more difficult to cope with and address. I wouldn’t blame Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend a white school, for not forgiving those women who attempted to attack her as she walked through the school halls. She faced discrimination so horrific that the national guard had to be called in to escort her inside. She was called horrible racial slurs, her family was attacked, and yet she still managed to forgive those who had tried to hurt her.

Something has to change. Something about our politics has to change. Something about how we determine what we vote for has to change. Because we’re all still people. And we need to remember that first before we decide that we’ll vote for deportation or we’ll vote for higher taxes. Because honestly, it seems that we’ve forgotten that. We’ve forgotten that behind rhetoric we determine as hurtful or wrong that there’s a person, however detestable they are to you. They’re still people, and someone, or their experiences, molded them into who they are.

So before you decide what your politics are, before you decide where you fall on this question of unity, I implore you to explore. Find out who these people are. Talk with them if you can. Ask them why they believe what they believe. Figure out where you stand once you figure that out. Because while politics may seem to be a shade of black and white, it’s really not. We’re all gray. There’s unity in our personhood and there’s unity in our disunity.

I’ll leave you with a poem by Sir William Gilbert, which I believe sums up this idea the best:
I often think it’s comical
How nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative.

Photo courtesy of ATIMES.COM

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What Are Your Politics?