Is politics your home, or your car?

When I’m in my home, I want to be comfortable. I don’t want to live with people who make me feel ill at ease, or whose values I don’t share.  I don’t want conflict.  I take great care in making my “house into a home.”  I hang things on the walls that reflect my personality, my values, and who I am.  This is my sanctuary.

When I’m driving in my car, I want to get somewhere. I have a destination in mind.  Gas is expensive, and Rhode Island drivers are effing crazy – so I’m not interested in much other than Point A to Point B.

Sure, when I’m in my home, I may have some projects and have goals around those projects.  And, sure, when I’m in my car, I may want to listen to music that I especially like, or have great conversations with my friends.

But entertain the (admittedly over-simplistic and falsely dichotomous) metaphor for a minute and ask yourself, are your politics your home or your car? In politics and the political organizations you’re part of, are you looking primarily for sanctuary, or are you looking to get somewhere?  Do you get involved to express your values (like hanging paintings and posters on your walls), or are you stepping into a vehicle with a destination in mind? And do you have a map?

Or are you in a gas-guzzling mobile home that’s broken-down on the side of the road – really hoping the engine will magically restart some day, but it’s been like 40 years, and you’ve kind of gotten comfortable here, and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to arrive somewhere new? And besides, cars are bad.


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