(Identity) Politics as Usual Must Change

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For months, we have seen what identity politics has unleashed on America. 

We’ve watched our cities burned down and looted, our fellow American citizens attacked. We’ve been led to believe that these awful events are “politics as usual” because we’ve been conditioned to think that identity groups are finally having their say. 

This is a false narrative. Identity politics, defined as “a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics,” is on its way out. 

For years, we have seen the emergence of so many different groups of people that have been assumed to be homogeneous. If you are a woman, you must believe certain things. If you are homosexual, you must believe certain things. If you are Latino, you must believe certain things.

Race. Gender. Class. These are the things that “must” define you.   

But, now, that’s not the case.  

It’s easy to put women in a political box. Women historically have been disenfranchised members of society. Seen as the weaker sex, women have often not been given a seat at the table. But that doesn’t mean we women all believe the same exact thing. 

Just look at how many women disagree about abortion. Clearly, not all women are in the same “political box.”  

Diversity is not having a certain number of identity groups represented in a given situation. True diversity is having many hearts and minds that value many different things.  

It is wholly demeaning to look upon a person’s complexion or life decisions and make political judgments about who they are and what they value.  

This morning, I awoke to a Washington Post headline, “Women’s March plans return to D.C. in October to protest Supreme Court nomination.” What it really should have read was: “Women’s March to protest new appointment, Amy Coney Barrett, who is also a woman.”  

This march is because so many are passionate about the issue of abortion, that issue that just never seems to go away. It is any American’s right to protest what she does not agree with—that is not what this article is about.  

It is to point out the obvious: Women are going against other women on issues of reproduction—which tells an important truth. Politics are not about certain sects of society. Politics are about values and moral judgments.  

There are women who value their freedom and their body. There are also women who value another’s life and the subsequent responsibility. Both types are women. Political views do not make people any less human.  

Barrett is a Catholic, conservative woman. Neither of those adjectives ascribed to her make her any less female.  

Similarly, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is a black, conservative man. Neither of those adjectives ascribed to him make him any less black, or any less a man, though there are those who claim, such as Black Lives Matter activist Tamika Mallory, that he may be “skin folk” but not “kinfolk.” 

In any case, politics is just that, politics. It is not the eternal or determinant destiny of any person.

Just because I’m a woman does not mean I have to believe a set of values and rules—that’s called sexism. Just because a black man does not align with many of his “skinfolk” on political issues does not mean he isn’t black—that’s called racism. 

We have forgotten how complex human beings are. Something as simple as belonging to a group should not determine the full range of our beliefs. And it is alienating not just women against women, or black men against black men, but, worst of all, Americans against Americans. 

It’s time we let people self-govern again. It was one of the main—if not the main—principles that our nation was founded on. Let the voters vote, the professionals practice, and the people live based on their conscience. Don’t tell them they have to believe a certain way because they look a certain way.  

Identity politics is beginning to crumble all around us. This time, let’s let it fall and die because our nation cannot, and will not, survive long otherwise.  

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