Have you asked yourself: Are you an “enlightened citizen”?
July 4th is a good day to pause and reflect on the ideals upon which our country was founded, how close to or far away from those lofty goals we are today, and what we want for the future of the United States.
Each of us can have a personal vision of what “politics” looks like in our communities and our country as a whole.
Many of us take our political views for granted—we know what we believe in and what we oppose.
But many of us have not really explored where our beliefs were formed and who or what influenced them.
That is part of being an “enlightened citizen.”
Perhaps we haven’t done this self-analysis because we just don’t like “politics” or because we long ago identified with one side of the political spectrum.
But what if we thought of politics in a new light?
One definition of politics is the “total complex of relations between people living in society.”
In that context, politics are unavoidable and may be approached differently. Politics can be more than a simple choice between left and right, liberal or conservative, etc.
Politics can mean being an enlightened citizen.
With thanks to author Amy Falchuk for these ideas, being an enlightened citizen could include:
* Knowing your core political values (for example, this could mean personal freedom, full self-expression, shared responsibility, justice, equity, and/or equality)
* Looking at your participation, if any, in the political process (think about the definition of politics above—do you participate? If not, why?)
* Questioning how informed you really are. Where do you get your information? Do you tend to only go to sources that adhere to your own beliefs and viewpoints?
* Considering how often you engage with opposing views. When you do, how do you engage with them? What happens to you energetically and in your body when you find yourself having a discussion with someone who differs from you politically? Do you stay open? Do you become defiant and closed off? What do your tone of voice and your body posture say?
* Picking a policy issue you feel strongly about. What is the essence of this issue? What draws you to it? Does it relate to anything in your own life? Do you know and understand viewpoints that differ from yours on this issue?
* Choosing at least one aspect of your political life that you would want to explore (choices could include to be better informed, to learn about opposing viewpoints, to increase your participation in the process, etc.)
You can go deeper here:
As citizens, we each have a right to our own views and beliefs. As enlightened citizens, we can develop more awareness and understanding of the roles we want to play in the “political” process and how to interact more effectively with our fellow citizens.
At SWC we are committed to bringing forth opportunities to work together to create the world we want to see.
With love and light,