Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The political is personal

Or so it is for me at least. Not as much -- I'm hoping -- as it once was, but still an important ingredient. And this is the reason (apart, no doubt, from simple narcissism) why I'm bothering to blog about myself, or perhaps my self, here at all, alongside the other more abstract and obviously more significant contexts of change. Because, a while back, my politics changed, and I'm still a bit puzzled or bemused as to how. I can say why they changed, but that's intellectualizing the thing, and doesn't get at the actual processes of change. That's still mysterious, in a way that should be familiar to anyone old enough to come across photos of themselves caught in some vanished style or fad -- it's the "what was I thinking" kind of incomprehension.

I can also say, roughly, when my politics changed. In 1992, I supported Bill Clinton for President; in 1994, I cheered the Republican takeover of Congress. (I should say immediately that I'm a Canadian and had no active involvement in US politics, but like probably most of my compatriots did have an active interest.) Which might look like a 180, but was really something more like a 90 or maybe 120 degree turn, a complication I'll get to further on. For now, though, the main point is that the change had little or nothing to do with, for example, the Clintons' botched attempt at health care reform, or any of the other now-forgotten issues of that first half term. It was instead just the culmination of a process that had been bubbling along for some years.

So, one of the things I want to talk about here -- and there are certainly others -- is the phenomenon of personal political change, using myself as a test case.

ADDED: a link to the start of my explanation of the "why"

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