By Robin Ye
There’s a whole life to live before, after, and in spite of the world of politics.
My winter break was awesome. In a world of moral ambiguity, this was unambiguously good. It felt great not to start the day off scourging the world for the next crisis, misdoing that occurred, or speculate about which next tragedy or problem was to emerge. Case in point, I sat down on Tuesday morning – ready for the new quarter – opened up the New York Times, and read about the Iraq Al-qaeda surge and the dismal state of American foreign policy – an unconventional but surefire routine toward depression and apathy.
However to what extent was my winter break good due to my (relative) disconnection to the world, rather than to the fact I was seeing family and friends after a hard quarter? I’m not saying that disconnect from the political world leads to a happier life. No, not at all. Hell I wouldn’t even pretend to entertain that I could’ve really gone even a day or two more of my winter break status quo without going politically stir crazy. What I am saying though, is to remind yourself that if you are a political junkie or civically involved, you are not, in a sense, ‘normal’ – as Ezra Klein, the ambitious and surely former editor of the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, has reminded us time and again.
I find it helpful for my own well-being to remember that the country will continue to move forward, and people will continue to live their lives no matter who is running the country or running for office. In fact, it’s probably essential for anyone who plans on working in or around politics, government, and public service. If we remember that our everyday lives will not cease to exist over one issue or another, that the groceries will still need to be bought, holidays will still need to be spent with friends and loved ones, and homework will still need to be done (or not), then we can recognize that no single matter will make or break our lives.
What we do (or hope to do) is important. Civic education is important, for sure, but I don’t find it any more important for a person to think about the 2016 elections than for a mother to think about what her child will eat for lunch, or what show she’ll watch tonight from her DVR after a long day and the kids have gone to bed. In my mind, both are equally valid. It just so happens my cup of joe is POLITICO’s playbook and The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet.
I follow politics because it’s fun… for me. I do it because I love it and I believe it’s my responsibility to know… but mostly I do it because I want to, not because I feel I have to. I didn’t want to for a week because, well, I didn’t want to. Life’s too short not to do what you love. I just so happen to love politics.
I’m back in the swing of things now, back on campus, back to the world of politics. I like to think that even if you’re the President of the United States, having ascended to the highest echelon of power, you’re only there for eight years max. There’s a whole life to live before, after, and in spite of the world of politics.