Our circumstances shape who we are, says CNN commentator
At an event hosted by the UIC Student Activities Board, Ana Navarro, a Republican political strategist and commentator for CNN, addressed students and community members March 8 on a variety of topics, ranging from gun violence and the state of the Republican Party, to being Nicaraguan.
Navarro’s multifaceted and nuanced perspectives are a product of the life she has lived.
“I think each of us is who we are, plus our circumstances,” Navarro said.
Her circumstances, both past and present, are what have shaped her experience.
When asked about the formation of her political views, Navarro cited her upbringing. When she was 6 years old, her family left Nicaragua, which was in the midst of a civil war. The experience proved to be crucial in regard to Navarro’s placement on the political spectrum.
“I grew up in a political household. My father was anti-everything,” she said.
“When you go through a civil war, when you have to flee your country at such a young age, it shapes you. Being involved matters. Being engaged matters. Government matters. Elections matter. Democracy matters. That’s what shaped me the most.”
Navarro said fleeing communism and coming to a country that was fighting communism under former President Ronald Reagan was instrumental with her identifying with the Republican Party.
As a political commentator, Navarro is often described as unapologetic and outspoken. Navarro cites her schooling as helping her feel comfortable
“I went to an all-girls Catholic school. I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to like math and science; I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to be activists and leaders,” she said.
As the conversation shifted to specific questions about today’s political climate, Navarro was able to provide a perspective shaped by her own life experiences.
When asked about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), she said she could empathize with those affected due to her experience migrating to America, fleeing war as a young child.
“I came here legally, but I was 8 years old. I had no opinion. I had no say (in coming to America). When I see those kids, I see myself,” she said.
Navarro’s emphasis on personal
experience highlights the importance she places on getting to know others, and having personal relationships and connections with diverse people and places.
“I think one of the problems we have as a country right now is that too often we only hang out with people who look like us, and sound like us, and think like us,” Navarro said.
And that’s something we have to work on. Being messengers, but also being receivers to other people and their experiences.”