by Mayumi Herrera
I once came across a professor who said, “Lo político es lo personal,” which means all politics is personal. Although he was a man of color, a man from Latin America, and a man of admirable knowledge, I still could not quite understand this phrase, much less relate to it. As a seventeen-year-old in an upper division Spanish class, it was hard to comprehend a lot of things, but somehow his simple words stuck with me and continued to linger in the back of my mind.
In addition to weekly Spanish seminars about Latin America’s historic affairs and current political situations, I also followed a great partisan divide that hit close to home during the 2016 presidential election. Packed with heated debates to work out and overwhelming amounts of social controversy to analyze, I slowly began building my own, political beliefs for the first time in my life and academic career.
However, as I listened to the liberal ideas my professor passionately explained, in contrast to my government teacher’s conservative attitude he fully protected, I found myself unsure of my political stance once again.
All confusion aside, what I found most interesting is the true power of politics many tend to forget. I quickly realized that my political voice along with the 321.4 million other American voices is incredibly significant, no matter how loud or how quiet.
Understanding the importance of politics is the first step toward a fair and civil government system. Since the fundamental goal is to represent a wide population of diverse cultures, religions, and languages, it is crucial to express personal perspectives and learn to embrace change.
“I believe it is important to have a political voice because our country’s government was founded upon the principles of ‘by the people and for the people.’ As citizens, we have the power to influence our government because we have the opportunity to elect those who represent us,” senior Lizette Silva said.
Politics affect everyone, regardless of age or background, and become personal when government rules and regulations do not correspond to personal beliefs despite the efforts made to work with differences. Thus, it is a game that everyone needs to play at one point or another.
Therefore, it is extremely important to be aware and active in politics so that every citizen is comfortable with the legislative circumstances he/she live under and ultimately proud of his/her’s country’s overall political system.
As a result, it is essential to take the opportunity to voice your opinion so that when politics becomes personal, it is for the very best intentions.