Do you do politics?
Politics, we’re all a bit sick of it aren’t we? I know I am. It seems that we can’t go a day without a major political event happening.
I’ve noticed that both in real life, and on social media the people I engage with fall into three groups.
Those who are highly political and have a good understanding of it all.
People who, perhaps like me, don’t have a great understanding of it all, but try their best to stay informed.
People who adopt the fingers in their ears, head in the sand approach. “I don’t do politics”.
Now, I fully understand why people sometimes disengage because politics is on the whole, boring. And it’s not always easy to get your head around . But I feel that now is the time that more of us need to engage.
I never quite understand when people say they don’t do politics because whether or not you do politics it’s affects you in endless ways. From the laws you must abide by, to how much your groceries cost, how much you earn, to how long you wait for a medical appointment and everything in between. Our lives are governed entirely by politics and if you aren’t happy about something the only way to try to bring about change is by doing politics.
A lot of people have the attitude that “Well it doesn’t affect me” and it’s all well and good if you think you’re getting on just fine, but, for example, minority groups who are affected by prejudice and discrimination need people to speak up and make a stand with them and on their behalf.
I’ve seen it said many times on social media in the past few days that there’s no point in protesting against Trump because he’s not our president and he’s not going to care if people in different countries are protesting but I believe it’s important to show people that we care. That we stand with them.
Some people aren’t able to attend protests, I am neither mentally nor physically well placed to attend a protest but I can use my voice to speak out. To show solidarity, I can bear witness. What I cannot do is turn a blind eye.
Some people don’t talk about politics because if you do there’s always the possibility of opening yourself up to abuse, so I’m not trying to say that we must all nail our colours to the mast and declare our political positions. I’m trying to say that some engagement in politics, whether it’s reading and learning about it or speaking out, is better than none. (My personal view is that there’s nothing wrong with nailing your colours to the mast, if you have principles and beliefs stick with them and stand for them, but I do understand that some people are not comfortable in doing that).
After voting has taken place, whatever the result, when people speak out against the results people will cry “But its democracy, the people have spoken” but democracy is about much more than showing up on voting day.
Citizens in a democracy also have responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to choose our leaders. Another is to keep informed about what is going on with our government. It is also the responsibility of citizens to help make their community and neighborhood good places in which to live.
* (Quote taken from here)
In my opinion a vote isn’t fully democratic if not everyone fully understands the weight their vote carries.
Keeping informed means much more than just reading a tabloid newspaper, but I know, and I’m sure you do, people who make big decisions based on what they read in the heavily biased newspapers, instead of reading, researching and asking questions. Before the referendum I read as much as I could stomach on both sides of the argument and I asked lots of questions. I cast my vote after much thought and deliberation.
I’ve made this point before but I’m going to make it again, I feel that we should learn more about politics and how it works at school. Our young people are given the responsibility of a vote at 18 but are not always well enough informed to make such big decisions. I know that I personally wasn’t interested in politics at all until I was around thirty because I found it boring and was very much of the mindset that my vote didn’t matter much, nothing really changes, but voting, protesting and speaking out is the only way to bring about change.
I know that on social media there is some fatigue, we are all a bit fed up with reading about politics. I myself often need to switch off for a few days because it becomes overwhelming but because of social media it’s easier than ever to be informed and as long as you are able to sift the facts from fiction I think that’s a good thing.
For some people politics is all too much and I fully believe that you must protect your own mental health first and foremost. But if you are able I believe you should.