I often hear and read statements like “I don’t want to get too political but…” or “I’m not really into politics” and for a while, I was starting to get confused on what real politics is all about. I decided to go back to the dictionary.
Politics: the art or science of government
Political: of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government
Government: the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization
All definitions are from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Essentially, what I hear when people say such things is: “I don’t really care about who sets the rules or what rules they set. I don’t even care if it’s about me”. By making statements like that, you have relinquished your control over your life. It sounds a bit heavy-handed but I believe it to be true.
Politics is Everyone’s Business
Politics and government should be everyone’s business because everything about our life is political, at least, ever since we decided to be a society governed by common sets of rules. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to worry about politics because the people we give authority to make decisions on our behalf would do so with the community’s best interest at heart. BUT, as the good book tells us, the heart of man is desperately wicked and I’ve come to realize that egotistical and out-rightly evil people love to be in positions of power. So what has now happened is that egotistical and bad people are many and abundant in our political spheres. Almost all countries suffer from this. Its citizens have put their fate in the worst of hands.
The thing is, the issue is not so hard to fix. It really just requires us to pay more attention not only to who we put in power but also to the values our communities would like to embody. Downright to the food you eat. What would you prefer? To have unhealthy fast-food joints on every street? Or to have access to a wide variety of fresh foods and healthy and affordable fast-food options? You would think that, as a society, we would choose the logical option that would ensure the longevity of the community. But No. Instead, “lobbyist” court and woo the people in authority to turn a blind eye to the long-term consequences of their actions for a couple of millions that would only ensure that these people get to enjoy a better life probably far away from the communities they were put in place to protect.
If we were involved in the politics of our societies, we wouldn’t be blindsided by such decisions. If we cared about our future generations and not only ourselves, we would put in the effort to be connected and informed. We wouldn’t take the lazy way out of not having to think about what is best for our communities now and in the future.
Politics Is Not Beyond Your Understanding
We seem to forget that the government and people in authority are not some enigmatic figures that operate beyond the scope of our understanding. They are ordinary people just like us whose importance is gotten from the power other ordinary people give them. A power that can be taken away at any time.
So, next time you find yourself wanting to detach from politics, mentally slap yourself across the face and pull yourself together! Everything you do is political, so you might as well use your power to make it a life worth living.