I never thought of myself as a political junkie, and I probably never will.
There are stances on both sides of conservative and liberal beliefs I agree with, and I had a hard time deciding if I could consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. One day last March, I visited my grandparents in Northern Michigan, who seem to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to politics. After explaining to them which stances are the most important to me and which side I take on them, they said I was most likely a Libertarian.
After researching Libertarian stances, I concluded that’s the closest party to which I can affiliate. As a top priority to me, I do not like the feeling that I am being monitored or watched by government agencies in any way, but I understand its usefulness for preventing crime. I do believe in the Second Amendment and people should be able to bear arms but should think carefully for themselves when mental health becomes a factor.
Regarding border patrol, I believe immigrants should be allowed to enter the United States and build happy lives for themselves as U.S. citizens as long as they are able to do everything legally required of them first. I’m also in favor of as little taxes on citizens and business as possible and the government should leave the situation regarding job growth to the businesses, and the citizens should take the responsibility to make the jobs work best for them.
While I know there are many more details that complicate each of these stances that many are passionate about, I find it better to keep my philosophies simple and to focus on the little battles around me I might be able to do something about. Basically, don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. The Libertarian party seems to follow that basic concept.
It is also frustrating to me to read about people complaining about topics outside the range of their control. Specifically, with the current President of the United States. I despise his character as much as any other citizen, which is a separate topic from his practical performance as the Commander and Chief. But the only thing we could have done about it is vote during the 2016 Presidential Election and talk about other candidates who may be a better fit for the next vote.
For me, it doesn’t do any good, trying to achieve inner peace on a daily basis, to read about the latest offensive thing he’s said or done every day. My preference, rather, is to focus on the actions of the businesses, community officials and citizens I reside in at that time. But I still take my job seriously, as a reporter, whenever I encounter a political figure because the resulting stories can still promote positive change in society.
For full context, I grew up in a rural town in mid-Michigan with elected Republican officials nearby and a headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. At my alma mater, I encountered several students with passions for a variety of social justice issues. My mother has been open about being a conservative. My father, a military veteran, watches both Fox News and CNN every day in order to stay informed on both sides of a news topic. My younger sister went on a rant when she heard the last name of the current president brought up at a Thanksgiving party a couple of years ago.
That’s all of the political beliefs from people I have been exposed to up to this point of my life, so you decide for yourselves what I am. But I don’t consider my political beliefs to factor much into my identity.
Contact Orrin Shawl at