The People vs. Politics

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Politics dominates the news and to many that’s not a good thing, especially when both seem so disconnected from the real concerns of everyday people. Maria Leon has this Perspective.

I catch up with current events during my morning commute. I hear that the world is falling apart. I hear that people who are not me are in distress. Terrible story after terrible story day after day. it’s not gonna stop so, I change the station. Listen to music instead.

But it’s hard to ignore news that hits close to home. I’m a Venezuelan-American woman and I have lived through the devastating deterioration of my homeland for the last 20 years. I hear that someone tweeted about my country. I see that someone replied to that tweet with another. My friends ask, ‘What the hell is going on in Venezuela?’ and I’m speechless. Suddenly, the future of my people is murky and disposable. Like a tweet.

During the government shutdown, I was on the phone with an immigration agent trying to find out how the “news” might affect my family. She was helpful and I thanked her for continuing to work without pay. She said, ‘There are a lot of people out there who still need help. Despite the politics.’

I felt lucky that in all the chaos, I could speak to a human. A human that’s not a story on the radio, or an image on my phone, but a person. Politics seem so disconnected, unapproachable. People, on the other hand, are folks with families and jobs and homes, or often, people with none of those blessings. Politics are tweets. Politics are walls used as symbols and agreements made behind closed-doors.


It turns out that news are not stories happening in faraway lands. They are situations that affect our communities with real consequences. There’s no headline that doesn’t affect me or us -- the people going to work to get a paycheck, the people working for no pay, the people longing to be healthy enough to work. Everything affects us and all we have is one another.

It’s us, the people versus politics.

With a Perspective, I’m Maria Leon.

Maria Leon is a filmmaker.