There is a difference between family and relatives. Family are the people who are there for you, who support you, who pull you up when you are down, who stand up for you, and who stand against those who would tear you down. Relatives are people with whom you happen to share a bloodline. But there is most certainly a difference. Most of the time your blood and family intersect.
But sometimes your family has no blood relation to you, and sometimes your blood relatives fall outside your family.
There is also a difference between politics and life. Politics are the jockeying of different views of government and the way in which we govern ourselves. Life is how we treat one another, how we love one another, how we demonstrate the intrinsic value of each person’s existence.
- Defining the regulations by which law enforcement must engage the public is politics. Telling police to stop killing Black and Brown people is life.
- Taxing the rich or not is politics. Ensuring that we as a society actually do something to help those in need is life.
- Challenging the extent of government authority to mandate protective measures during a pandemic is politics. Wearing a mask during a pandemic to protect our most vulnerable is life.
- Questioning the extent to which the government may require you to do something against your religious beliefs is politics. Recognising that your religious beliefs are your own and should not stand in the way of loving relationships with which you may not agree, that is life.
- Objecting to the process by which votes are tallied is politics. Storming Congress, or supporting those who did, because your objections have been found meritless by our duly appointed independent judiciary is not life. Comparing those actions to people protesting symbols of a racist rebellion, or those crying out for the extrajudicial killings of minorities to stop is not life.
I have recently been accused of turning against family over politics. I submit that is just not true. My decisions are based on life, not politics. When your politics are blind to life and defile the lives of others, you erase the line between politics and life. That I cannot abide.
I have also been accused of changing. That much I acknowledge. I have grown up. I have learned to look beyond myself, my inner circle, and see – truly see – people who are not like me. For that, I am glad that I have changed.
But they, too, have changed. By clinging to politics devoid of life, they’ve changed from family to relatives.