When the Political and Personal Collide


That was my 12-year-old son’s response when I told him that gays and lesbians could now legally marry in every state of the country. It was a historic day earlier this summer when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage, but my son didn’t see what the big deal was. He believed gays and lesbians were fully equal and assumed others did as well. This “historic” decision was more head-scratching to him than remarkable.

But one day, years from now, he’ll get it. He’ll tell his children that he remembers when homosexuals couldn’t marry. Maybe he’ll even be able to recall watching television the night America voted in its first black President—another event that will undoubtedly grow in significance to him as he matures. Like all of us, he’ll see the world change and he’ll remember how different things were when he was young.

Think back to the political landscape into which you were born and the policies that you watched change your country and world. Do you remember when Prohibition ended? When black and white children attended different schools? When contraception was illegal?

We are all formed by the families, schools, and communities of our childhood. But our country’s political climate plays a part in shaping the people we grow to be as well. When you write your life story, explain where your history and your country’s history intersect.  Describe how political events impacted you on an individual level. Share national events through a personal lens.

Convey the whole story of your life. From your childhood home to the world in which it sits.

Explain what it was like when you were a kid. And why that was remarkable indeed.