Politics and Serving: How I Form Political Opinions as a Milspo

Political opinions are formed in many ways- personal beliefs, experience, and more all play a role. Oftentimes we agree or disagree with an issue almost immediately,  without taking the time to stop and think, "Why do I feel this way?"

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse

When your spouse works for the government, however, an entirely new layer is added to the mix. How politics play out will not only affect your feelings, they can affect your livelihood – income, hours on the job, benefits, etc. All of this in addition to how actual laws or political moves will change your lives indirectly.

Of course, that also means we have a little more skin in the game. We're more likely to be for or opposed to something, and to take things to heart. After all, it's not hitting close to home, it is hitting inside your home. It's virtually impossible to keep such factors from affecting your opinions. And really, why should we try?

Using What You Know

Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Scandal knows that in the government, nothing is what it seems. Which is why we should take everything with a grain of salt. I, for the most part, focus on what will affect my family. Will a military move put my husband in potential danger? Will healthcare upgrades help or hurt our ability to be seen at the doctor? What about when budgets can't be agreed upon and we have to scrape by waiting for paychecks to come in? Bills are still due, groceries still need to be purchased, but we’re sitting around stretching every single penny to keep the kids fed and your spouse transported to work (yep, they've still got to go) until law makers can find an agreement. Or every time we hear about troop increases, we wonder how that will affect our husbands’ career, their current job, and if we'll have to quickly move because of it.

Now that I am a milspo, these political decisions hit far closer to home.

Other ways I determine political opinion: I talk to my husband. I read unbiased (or as unbiased as I can find) news sources (if you prefer to do the same, check political sway charts or international sources). I check to see what other milspos are saying online. I look at outcomes, how will we be affected if plan A, B, or C happens? Oftentimes, it's choosing the lesser of two evils.

Then again, I have to remember that the world is a far bigger place than my family. Sometimes, serving the greater good means politicians making a decision I don't back, and I have to be understanding of that simple truth.

Of course, my ideas don't have an impact. (Unless there is a vote involved and even then individual impact is debatable). But somehow, being informed and educated about situations makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I'm a part of what's happening, even if I can't do anything about it.

Public Information

Another important aspect about holding political opinions as a milspo is that I generally keep them to myself. I'm not out for regular debates; politics are tricky in that someone is always mad. I prefer to keep the peace. Are there milspos who are great advocates and sources of news? Absolutely. I'm just not one of them. Instead, I choose to hide in the background, soaking in as much information as possible. Learning and hoping for the best, yet still planning for the worst.