What does it mean to be able to choose not to be political? It’s something I’ve seen discussed many times in Druid and Pagan groups – that politics and spirituality are at odds, or that a person doesn’t need to engage, or that not engaging may be the moral high ground.
The first possibility is that you assume ‘politics’ just means supporting a party or turning up to vote. Protesting is political. What you share, or don’t share on social media is political. Everything you spend your money on has political implications. How you treat other people is political. A person can be politically active while never getting directly involved with politics. Tax avoidance is political. Climate chaos is political.
You may not have noticed that politics is being done to you without your involvement or consent. You may have bought into the idea that you are powerless and irrelevant, or you may have been persuaded that all politicians are basically the same so there’s no point voting for them. This isn’t true – granted, many politicians, regardless of political affiliation, are not great people, but less bad is still an improvement. Voting for people who are not actively trying to strip other people of their human rights and who are not personally profiting from the destruction of the planet is a good idea.
It’s easy not to be political when the system is set up in your favour. There are implications to being white, male, cis and straight, and having money and good health. The more boxes from that list you tick, the more likely you are to be served by current politics than threatened by it. Not needing to be political is a state of privilege. Not feeling responsible for the suffering of others is also a choice to consider carefully. If you are alright and don’t really need to do politics, consider the people whose lives are at stake in all of this. Not just people in your own country. If a political expression isn’t likely to get you killed or imprisoned, maybe you could think about the people who are forced out of being politically active for fear of death, imprisonment, and torture.
Doing nothing is not a neutral choice. It is the choice that supports the status quo. It is a vote against change. We live on just the one planet, we are all affected by each other’s choices. The choice to do nothing in face of that has huge implications. If you don’t speak up to protect what you love, then who will?