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The Five People You Meet in Heaven was written by Mitch Albom. It was published in 2003 and sold more than six million copies worldwide. It follows the story of an amusement park maintenance man named Eddie. Eddie recently died trying to save a young girl from a freak ride accident and is now in heaven.
The reader follows Eddie’s journey through heaven as he meets five people that have in someway influenced his life. This is a journey similar to what we experience politically.
For most, politics and civics isn’t introduced until later in one’s life. People do not begin their lives being political. Children do not argue about politics on the playground. They aren’t yet exposed to the talk that can monopolize the lives of adults. As they get older, they become exposed to politics, which usually begins at home.
This starts a political journey that lasts a lifetime. Along the way, we meet five people that impact our political decisions.
The first people you meet on your journey is the first person you hear the political opinions of. For me, it was my Republican parents. For others, it can be another relative, a teacher, or even a friend. This usually kick starts your first set of political opinions. For years, I identified as a Republican.
The second person you meet in politics is someone who believes the same things you do. This person is easy to get along with, they agree with you on most, if not all things. They very well may be your new best friend.
Here is where things start to get tricky: the third person you meet on your journey is someone who challenges you. This is someone who doesn’t agree with you on anything political. It could be a family member, friend or professor. They argue with you and challenge you to look at the world from their perspective.
It isn’t until later on that you realize the importance of this person.
The fourth person you meet in politics really shakes things up. They believe what you believe. They are in the same political party as you, but there is a problem. They aren’t a very good person. Your hear them say something awful about another person, or perhaps you find something unfavorable about the way they treat people. Either way, you question if you truly believe in the ideals that you have clung to for years. The answer is often times complicated.
The fifth and final person you meet in politics is the most important. That person is yourself. Not just any version of yourself. This version comes after all the self-doubt, exposure to new things, people, places, and ideas. This is the person that you become after all that. In my experience this is never the person you were before.
Just like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the five people we meet along the way change us. They make us reconsider things we thought we would never change our minds on, but in the end, it’s all for the best.