On Political Alignment as a “Verb”

Jody Aberdeen
3 min readFeb 12

Honestly, I need to get back into the habit of using my Medium blog, if only for unresearched thought dumps.

I was thinking about my outlier status as someone whose politics is more that of a verb than a noun or adjective. I used to “be” conservative, for example, and then I realized my observations about what the world needed versus what the conservative movements I was part of were offering did not match up. I am no longer “conservative”, or any other ideology.

I think this notion of taking on ideologies ontologically is a big factor in the polarization of the current era, and going far in the other way is just making the same error. Politics can’t just be yet another identity, another reason to draw a line between you and other people. Politics has to have utility.

As such, I am not a “leftist” (noun/adjective), but I lean left (verb), based on what I see to be a match between the solutions that those movements offer versus what I see to be the needs in the world. It means I’ll happily devote my efforts to support the advancement of those ideas into the world, but only as long as they’re helpful in solving those problems.

It also means that I’m not bound by a blood oath to forever stay in the same position no matter how much the terrain changes over time. It leaves me free from having to tow an un-nuanced ideological party line that may try to take me somewhere I don’t want to go, or leverage some kind of “cancellation” threat over me if I don’t stay in line.

The idea of political orientation as “verb” is better, in my view, to the more milquetoast notions of a centrist “liberalism” that in effect only serves as an apologist for the right, without doing anything to stop the right’s excesses. It isn’t about making everyone happy through compromise. It requires discomfort and tension.

One example is the discomfort I experience when it comes to military spending in Canada. Paradoxically, my desire for increasing our investments in up to date equipment (like the F-35 JSF) and staffing only got stronger when I started leaning leftwards, especially after 2016.

With the prospect of certain American leaders who have mused aloud about problems with “the northern border” taking over command of their side of NORAD, I’d like to know that should neighbours become aggressors, we’d have sufficient staffing and equipment to look after our half of the continent (if not safeguard ourselves from…