Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making it personal!

So last night I once again had a difficult time sleeping. It seems to be my regular status lately.

Perusing my friends posts on FB the last few days I've noticed several things. I need to preclude this by saying the instigator for this ONLY started me thinking, our dialogue has no reflection on my current thought process, other than a comment he made: "You made this personal."

Before reading his last comment to me I had already drawn the conclusion that we were coming from two directions and it was unlikely we were going to meet anywhere. So I didn't reply to that last comment. Understand, in writing on the net you have little to no idea if a comment is meant to be snarky, pithy or sarcastic, my 'assumption' based on the previous dialogue was that he meant this in a negative manner.

'I made it personal'. Why is that a derogatory comment? Or rather why would I take it as negative?

This is a theory, from Carol Hanisch's paper in 1969, that has been bandied about Women's Studies and the Women's Movement for 40 years.

I'm not going to discuss Hanisch's theory, because that isn't specifically where my mind is going.

I'm stuck on this idea that somehow when I make the personal, or rather my personal, political I am somehow in the wrong.

But guess what? It is all personal.

We almost lost our house, that is personal.

I can't find a job, that is personal.

I can't get health insurance, that is personal.

Taxes are killing us, that is personal.

The list goes on. The reality is simple,


The use of formal and informal power by individuals and groups to achieve their goals within organizations.


Are produced when the community at large and the leaders of the government as a whole are brought into the discussion and determination of policy.

Simplified, micro would be voting for the mayor of Aurora, macro is when I vote for President of the United States.

But when we are 'formally' focusing on micro issues no one takes offense. However my so-called formal opinions on political issues, whether at the micro or macro level are formed by my personal experience, education, and needs.

So yes I do make it "personal" when involved in political or social dialogue. In the particular conversation that sparked this tangent, the other person was upset by the actions, (of mostly strangers), that involved an activity/career that they had been involved in. They felt that people who had no experience should not have a voice regarding this particular career.

So I ask, how is this not personal? I need to be clear, you could just about substitute any other career/activity. If injustice is being done, shouldn't we do something about it?

If I accept their premise, I have no experience with A, therefore I have no right to object to B, well if that were the case than everyone who objects to Catholic priests who have been caught only have the right to object if they are A. a victim or B. a priest.

Oh I get that I am using an extreme example, but why do we as individuals, groups, communities, et cetera make the presumption that just because someone draws from the personal their argument is less valid?

Without the personal to motivate us what would be the impetus for change?

It is the personal that empowers us, makes us impassioned, motivates us to make change, to inform, to go outside our comfort zone because principle demands it of us.

If the personal were not political, if it did not impact us so clearly, empower social justice so emphatically, than there would be no groups that lobby regarding drunk driving, drugs, abuse, rape, domestic violence, smoking, LGBT rights, same sex marriage, bullying, and the list could go on. What is the Occupy Wall Street protest about, if not personal? Protests from the 60's? The Women's Movement? Domestic Violence Awareness?

Yes it is all personal. Make it impersonal and why would anyone care about their friends? family? neighbors? community?

So I intend to keep it personal, deal with it!

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