Do politics matter? Do they matter to our lives? Where should we go to express our opinions?
As home-based entrepreneurs, social media is not just for our entertainment, we use it to connect with people, let them know what services and products we offer and to get better known.
Hence, there is a view that we should remain positive and upbeat in all our posts and not get caught up in expressing personal opinions on politics and similar current subjects. The reasons are varied and all incredibly valid:
We want to be inclusive and not divisive. Expressing a political opinion can be very divisive.
Positive energy and a positive atmosphere are key elements to running a successful business. Political commentary can often be negative and focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right.
Our view of the world is always a snapshot of everything that is going on and is determined by the people around us and their views and experiences. If we share political opinions, we are attracting more posts like that and so our view becomes focused on all those topics. It takes our energy and attention away from the positivity we could instead be spreading.
All these points have always made sense to me and I have followed that principle in recent years.
And yet I have lately changed my opinion and here’s why:
Not just in the context of the big picture, such as the country’s economic direction and the big, global decisions but on a personal, immediate level and here’s why:
In 1979, I watched two 12-year-old girls, best friends, crying and hugging each other over the American/ Iran crisis. One was American, the other one Iranian and they were best friends, terrified what this would to them.
We had kids at school who became best friends and regularly played at each other’s houses, yet one of the fathers wasn’t allowed to know the religion of his children’s friends. They were Libyans and the father wouldn’t have allowed the other children into his house, had he known they were Jewish.
We used to chat about the Opec kidnapping over lunch, as several parents were involved.
My grandfather’s cousin’s wife was kidnapped by the Red Army Fraction.
My parents, grandparents, uncle and aunt and most of their closest friends narrowly avoided being blown up by a bomb by Palestinian terrorists. Incidentally, it was the bodydguard of the same family member mentioned above who stopped the terrorists entering the synagogue – and the only reason he was there because of the above kidnapping.
We had friends whose fathers were assassinated or nearly assassinated by terrorists because of the various countries they were worked for.
All of these were experiences in my life between the ages of 10 and 16. I realise these are extreme examples, but that is exactly the point. These things are happening all over the world all the time and they have an immediate effect on the people involved – and just because we have had one of the longest periods of stability and peace in our countries, we have forgotten how much it matters to remain involved.
All of us who went through the above experiences, either directly or indirectly, know how much it matters to connect with each other, get involved, stay open-minded and caring and remember that we are all human beings each with the same hopes and intentions.
And so the conclusion is that we are political, whether we like it or not – and we should express our political opinions. Yes, it can be divisive, but it is who we are. Our opinions have been shaped by our lives; they are an intrinsic part of our belief system, how we see the world and how we function.
And sometimes these posts and expressions can be uncomfortable for others to read. And sometimes they might upset some people…but I believe that this discomforts are unavoidable.
And there is greater good to it all: it shows people we care, that we are genuine in our beliefs (whether they agree or not), that we are passionate and it allows people to relate to us.
Yes, express your political opinions:
So, in conclusion I would advocate being honest about your beliefs and opinions. If it matters to you, if it affects your life, share that with people and let them know why. Aim to stay positive wherever possible, look for solutions to a problem and don’t just moan, encourage people to connect with you if they feel the same way and build relationships. And accept the fact that some people might not like it or agree with you – and afford them the respect for their opinions and beliefs.
I recently recorded the video below that summarises what makes a person a world citizen. It is who I believe I am (most of the time) and who I aim to be all the time. It also is the perfect summary of the kind of person I most want to work with:
So, my answer to the question whether we should share our political opinions as home-based entrepreneurs is:
Yes – if it is part of your core beliefs and affects how you approach your business.