Politics: The Politics of Acceptance, by Pranada Devi
In what way can acceptance inform politics? Acceptance can be a positive force that helps us move beyond outdated and ignorant attitudes about others and calls on us to see how we are alike and interconnected. Examples of the politics of acceptance include giving women the right to vote, the removal of segregation laws, or giving same-sex couples the same legal rights as straight couples. These political changes reflect evolution on the part of a society that no longer sees differences as a reason to judge or think less of a given group of people.
The politics of acceptance also extend to building wheelchair ramps and implementing other devices and policies that make work and life accessible for those who have different abilities. When we understand that everyone has something to contribute and we make it possible for them to contribute, we are all enriched.
The shadow of acceptance, however, is tolerance of situations that are adharmic. When ignorance, apathy, fear and despair set in, we may no longer see our way clear to taking action even when something is clearly a wrong step. This was the case, for example, with the Japanese internment during the second world war, where thousands of innocent people were rounded up and deprived of home, livelihood or full status as citizens, simply because of their ancestry. It is also the case with the current tolerance of major agricultural companies profiting from mass subsidies to produce genetically modified food that harms the livelihood of farmers and the health of humans and the environment.
It is incumbent on all of us who see a problem to take action, not just resign ourselves to it or assume someone else will take care of it. Whether it is sending a letter to a politician or taking personal action such as developing a public awareness campaign or changing one’s personal habits (such as not buying bottled water when clean tap water is available, or only using grey water to irrigate lawns), we each have a role we can play.
Acceptance is also to release our resistance to the idea that there is nothing we can do or that we are exempt from taking action. When we accept our interconnection, we find the spark of activation that allows us to play our part in igniting positive change in the world.
Pranada Devi is a communications professional living in Toronto, Canada. She manages the Politics, Books and Activism sections for Parvati Magazine in addition to serving as Managing Editor for the magazine overall. She serves as an advisor on marketing communications for Parvati’s various projects.