Today was a very interesting day. I would count it as my first stepping in to the political ring (only because its a Monday, and everyone seems to be back at work). Just like the recently released "don't drink and drive" advertisement "I have been internalising a really complicated situation in my head". The 'complicated situation' being how I now manage my personal and increasingly public and political persona's.
I have just returned home from the Native Affairs: Te Tai Tonga political debate, which was an excellent event. (Obviously my support is 100% behind Rahui who did an amazing job tonight.)
The first thing that struck me was the physical separation they put between each party support group. Every political party had a section that they had to sit in - some of my friends were sitting in sections across from me because they supported other parties - and also some of my whanaunga.
I found that to be awkward......My natural state would have seen me gravitate to my friends and whanau, instead I was catagorised by political affiliation. Hmmmm - I'm not sure this sits well with my 'whanaungatanga'-o-meter.
My internal dialogue was around whether I should just "suck it up" and accept that this would be my reality from now on OR whether it was a process of neo-colonisation that we could address somehow? I understand the naivety of the 'why cant we all just get along' scenario - but my ponderings are more around why we allow politics to divide us? Also, I further pondered about why we split our already marginalised voice across so many political parties that we become even smaller minorities in each of them? I cant see how we as a collective people benefit from this?
My natural (and first choice) of affiliation will also be by whakapapa/whanaungatanga/relationships. And as far as I am concerned this will always come first for me. So, awkward moment passed (thank god) and a last 'note to self' before bed - 'must remember to challenge this next time it happens.'