Getting caught up in the world of politics is very easy to do if you invest a lot of time keeping up with the news and being informed.  There is nothing wrong with knowing what is going on in the world, but it is important that we don’t forget who we are outside of politics.  If someone finds out you are a Republican or a Democrat, they are quick to write you off as one of the stereotypes they’ve been taught to believe without actually getting to know you.  There is no denying that there is a correlation between our personalities and politics because our values are what determine where we fall on the political spectrum. Your personality might determine your politics, but your politics shouldn’t determine your personality.

For a while, I caught myself incessantly talking about politics or the latest news in every conversation I had.  I felt like I was so invested in the political realm that I wasn’t taking the time to have fun and care about other things that mattered to me.  Then, I took a step back and tried to find things I was passionate about outside of politics and honestly, I had trouble at first. I had forgotten some of the hobbies and things I enjoyed doing so much because I spent so much of my time thinking about politics.

In my friend group I became known as the “political friend” which in the moment made me feel well informed and intelligent.  The more I thought about it though, I realized I didn’t want to be defined by my politics. While I appreciate people asking me what the latest news is or asking me to explain a concept they don’t understand, I didn’t want to become a walking political encyclopedia.  I don’t want people to hear my name and think “that Republican girl,” but rather know me for my actions towards others.

I’ve overheard conversations of people where they say “Oh, they were actually really nice, for a Republican.”  Our political party does not determine whether we are decent people or not. It’s sad that we have been conditioned to think this way but this goes both ways.  Just because someone is a Democrat or Republican should not deter you from learning more about them. It is possible to be civil, and even become friends with someone that thinks different from you.  Politics aside, in some instances you might actually have more in common with that person than you think.

The political atmosphere especially on social media these days has become extremely vile and vicious.  Strangers are so quick to attack each other because they don’t think the same, and excuse their harsh words as defending their beliefs.  The most unproductive way to get your point across is to shout, curse, and refuse to have discussions with others. Everyone can see what you say to others online and if you are constantly being rude and demeaning, that will follow you especially since the your words can reach an infinite amount of people online.  

Politics can often bring out the worst in people but I believe that if we try, it can also bring out the best.  We all need to take a step back and realize that we are more than the letter next to our name on our voter registration cards.  We are all humans with individual opinions and beliefs but we should learn to embrace those differences and work together to solve our problems.  It is easy to let our emotions get the best of us especially when we are passionate about something, but we shouldn’t let that define who we really are.  

My politics do not define me, my heart, and my soul do.

Rebecca K