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On being apolitical

There’s no such thing as “apolitical.”

Your company is not apolitical

Making and selling things in a local, national, and global economy intertwines your activities, successes, and failures with everyone else who participates in that economy.

You may have a “mission” and choose to focus on that, but your choices and actions have consequences for the world around you, and that is politics.

This company seems to have had a mission to provide a livelihood for its workers while producing high quality and efficient heating and ventilation products. They succeeded in that mission. Were they apolitical, though?

Your employees and coworkers are not apolitical

The people you work with do not exist outside of politics. For some of them, the drive to work is itself political, as is every public interaction they have.

For everyone, though, there are questions of where to send kids to school, how to eat, where to live, how to plan for retirement - all political topics that tie into working life.

It’s unreasonable and honestly just kind of weird to expect people to stop thinking about these topics, or to say “you can think about it but please don’t bring it up.”

You are not apolitical

Just like your company and the others who work there, your actions have an effect on society. Your choices reflect your values, and influence the future. That is politics.

If you think you’re apolitical, though, or just want to be, there’s a good chance you’re

Take a look at the high profile folks calling for an end to contentious political discussion and a focus on “just doing the work.” Take a look at their vocal supporters. What do you see?

A bunch of successful white dudes clamoring for the suppression of discussion of topics like race relations, prejudice, and poverty have an obvious reason for wanting to declare that they’re above politics. It’s because their politics are bad, and oppressive, and any discussion will bring that to light pretty quickly.

They win when these topics are off limits. Maybe you do, too. If that’s the case, I’m asking you to be just a little braver than the rest, and acknowledge your role in the universe.

Don’t be a coward who hides from prickly topics that make you feel not-awesome. You’re stronger than you think, and you’re capable of doing more (political) good than you realize.

    © 2024 Brian David Hall