A Voter’s Identity…The Sum of All Parts

The mid-term elections are just a few weeks away, and I think I’ve heard from every special interest group there is. As a constituent in a hotly contested district, my vote is valuable, and through endless phone calls, dinnertime knocks on the door, and a tree’s worth of direct mail pieces, candidates hope to win my support. It’s annoying at times, but I get it.

What draws me in, though, is the diversity of the messages that I receive on behalf of the same candidate. Each special interest group labels me in its own terms. By gender, by religion, by voting record, by age, by parental status. Each advertising effort targets a specific part of my identity and dives in.

And the truth – of course – is that I am the sum of all of these individual selves. None of them, on its own, defines me completely. We are all unique beings with complex makeups.

Which brings me back to the point of this blog.

As a personal historian, when I help people write their life stories we talk about all parts of their identity. How gender played a role in their journey. And culture. And politics and career choice and parenting and on and on. We are the blending of many qualities and we make decisions – voting and otherwise – based on who we are as a whole.

It’s a concept that may be difficult to fit onto a political postcard, but it certainly works well in a book about one’s life story.

Let me know if I can help you write yours.