How much of your identity is your political affiliation?

Last month, an old high school friend called to tell me her mother had died. I live too far away to attend the service, but I did look up the obit on line. I was struck by the opening of the announcement: “Mrs. Jane Doe, a lifelong Republican, passed…”

It’s been close to 30 years since I last saw my friend’s mom and I had no idea of her party preference, nor did I particularly care. She was a nice lady, a bit goofier than other mothers, and she always made me feel comfortable in her home. I wasn’t at all interested in politics back then, and I don’t recall it coming up in any conversations. And yet it was important enough to be the first thing mentioned in her obituary - even before her husband and children.

As an aside, I’m pretty sure she’d written it herself. My friend said her mother left detailed instructions about when her memorial service should be held depending upon which day of the week she died. She didn’t want anyone to have to take off work just for her. So, yeah, she probably had the obit ready.

I am not affiliated with any party and until fairly recently, I was mostly apolitical. Needless to say, it’d never occur to me to include such a statement in my death notice. So I guess I have 2 questions:

Do you find this lady’s obit to be unusual?

Would you want your obit to include your politics?

In my dad and my uncle’s funeral I fully expect politics will come up because they are both politicians. My uncle is a councilman and my dad runs for the provincial Green Party (no, he doesn’t win). In that case I don’t find it odd at all that politics would come up in an obit. In any case other than a politician I’d find it odd.

Politics won’t come up in my obit. I have strong political opinions but I keep them to myself. Religion, on the other hand, might come up. It definitely will if myself, my brothers, or my sister write it.

Not if the lady was active in party politics.

No. It might skew the polls.

If she was active in the Republican party for 30 years (volunteered and donated money) then I don’t think it’s odd. I wouldn’t take the order to mean much, although I admit that I know nothing about obituary etiquette. If she just voted Republican then it seems unusual.

I don’t know how active she was in the party - interestingly, most of the comments in the on-line guest book referred to her love of playing slots.

Like I said, it had been years since I’d seen her, but even in conversations with my friend, she never said anything like “Mom’s been going to these Republican party meetings all the time since she retired.”

Still, it must have been an important part of her life. Or, maybe even a joke? No, even she didn’t have that bizarre a sense of humor…

A lot, but then, for me it’s linked to “cultural identity.”

I don’t imagine that my obit will list political affiliation. But “I’m from NAVArra” is a big chunk of what I am, yeah…

No. I vote all over the map and would vote libertarian if it wasn’t a wasted vote.

Very little. I would class myself as a social democrat. I have no allegiance to any particular party.

Absolutely zero.

I have no political affiliation. As it happens I do end up voting for Democrats ~90% of the time for pragmatic reasons ( I did vote for the governator the last go around ), but I really have no use for the party, am not a member and would never identify myself with it. Or any party for that matter. I loathe mindless partisans and often have a slight distaste even for the smart, polite ones ( insert line here on how “some of my best friends…” :wink: ). My parents long ago burnt me out on political activism ( try walking picket lines when you’re six :stuck_out_tongue: ) and I will not devote time nor money to any of them.

All that being said I have a great interest in politics and will be taking off work on Tuesday partly to follow the election. My political world view, quite seperate from my nonexistent affiliation, IS a significant part of my identity.



Many people express a lot of surprise that I’m a republican even after knowing me for a long while, so I guess it’s not a big part of how I project myself. I seriously doubt anyone would be inclined to mention it in my obituary. On the other hand, I don’t find her obit that odd, if she considered it important while living.

It’s a large part, and I’d definitely expect it to be mentioned in my obit, but that’s in large measure because of the amount of time and energy I expend on it and the number of offices I hold and have held in the party.

My particular leaning on the political spectrum isn’t really what I’d call an “identity”. I reserve the right to be a swing voter (even though I rarely am).

If you are passingly familiar with my posts on here, you’ll know I’m a conservative. However, there are many people IRL who know me better than you guys do who would have NO FREAKIN’ IDEA which way I vote - simply because it doesn’t come up. So, on the SDMB, I’m “that conservative guy”, but in my day to day life, I’m more likely to be “that big, ugly guy”.

I think most of us are much less political off the boards, with some notable exceptions like matt_mcl and a few others.

Personally I’m a floating voter not Party fodder so the answer is no.

But to be quite honest I couldn’t care less what people think of me when I’m dead cos I wont know I’ll be dead.

I seriously hope people have something more interesting to say about me in my obituary beyond the fact that I voted Liberal Democrat.

Sounds a little odd to me, although slightly less so if the woman wrote it herself, but even then it’s odd to be the first thing. I could see “life long volunteer for the party” or something like that, but just affiliation seems odd. Of course, I don’t read a lot of obituaries. I wonder if there’s a Chicago Style Manual for death notices. :smiley:

As for myself, while my beliefs in various things are an important part of my identity to an extent, in general I don’t believe in the concept of identity. Saying that someone “is” something is just a linguistic shorthand for simplifying some set of their thoughts, feelings, actions, or associations. It annoys me when people imply that “is” has some kind of phenomenological reality. IAMNA doctor for example, but if I “was”, I’d rather my obit said “he practiced medicine” then “he was a doctor”. I’d rather it said “he fought for the rights of youth” than “he was a youth rights activist”. Etc.

In terms of politics, I definitely swing a certain way for some issues, and that will likely be a strong predictive element of which party I vote for, but I don’t like the two party system, and would prefer to be known by what issues I care about than by whatever party happens to hit my target closer.

ETA: I have to run out, but someone should really start a “Write your own obituary” thread.

AETA: Maybe we should come up with a more respectable name for ourselves. Will our relatives understand if our obituaries say “lifelong Doper”? :smiley:

I’m sayin’. Of course, my life is pretty dull, but as long as I go to the grave knowing that I’ve made a difference to someone, I’d count that as a well spent life.