The current political climate means getting involved in politics is even more critical than ever, argues Saatwik Maheshwari.
Saatwik is a BA (Hons) Liberal Studies (International Relations) student, and the Student Union's Academic Events Officer.
Oh, I love politics, it’s so interesting to me how our society works and I absolutely hate politics, it’s depressing and complicated are both statements that I, as an International Relations student, get to hear often from people that I speak with, and it always amazes me to see this stark contrast. The field of politics has a bit of a paradoxical nature – it truly affects everyone, but only a handful of people follow it, keep up with it, and are willing to participate in it. On one hand, this is completely understandable, as it can demanding and stressful. On the other hand, as members of a society, it is in our personal interests, and our duty towards our fellow citizens to follow politics. Here are five reasons why:
Politics is happening, whether you like it or not
We all know that politics shapes how our society’s biggest decisions are taken, but if you look closely enough, you can see that politics even affects the smallest things in our lives – the words we say, the apps we use, the things we share online, and so on. Some of it is for the good, some of it is not – either way, it is imperative that we know the people and the policies that are behind this. Political ignorance is no longer an option, as politics is seeping into more and more facets of our lives. Whether we like it or not, having a working knowledge of it does certainly come in handy at many points.
We are the ones who will be in charge tomorrow
Living through this pandemic has given us a shared belief: most of our governments did not respond to this crisis competently enough, risking many lives. This has also made us feel that we need to choose our leadership and our governments more carefully in the coming times. So, whether it is making an informed choice when voting in the upcoming US Presidential Election for instance, or preparing to jump into the political field yourself, we are in charge in both scenarios. Hence, we are in charge of deciding what the government of tomorrow will look like.
We (deserve to) have a say in politics
Until some decades ago, politics was difficult to get into, with only a select group of people in control of the resources and access. This is no longer true. All of us now not only have equal voting rights, but also a platform to have our say in politics around the globe via social media, activism, and so on. And since we have these resources, we are able to appreciate our leaders when they serve our communities well, and hold them accountable when they fail to do so. This is our right, and we should actively use it, because every voice counts.
Know what’s happening around the world, and help out
If there is one fact that we can all agree on, it is that 2020 has been a whirlwind of numerous unforeseeable and rather unfortunate events. The political unrest around the globe, and the fight with racism and intolerance, has become extremely important to address. As the leaders of the future and capable changemakers of today, it is highly important that we know what’s going on around us and educate ourselves. Read your country’s policies, learn what your government officials and local community are doing and, where you see an opportunity, help make a change. Because however small it may seem at the moment, it truly adds up.
Prepare for the future – your own and everyone else’s
Living through the past few months, and seeing things change so drastically all around us, has certainly given everyone a lot of things to think about, one of them being how the future might be very different from what we used to envision just a few months ago. While the pandemic has dominated the news cycle lately, there are many important issues that are not being dealt with well enough. When the dust settles on this pandemic and people start to think about life normally again, a lot will have changed in the political landscape globally, and it will be difficult to process all at once. In this spirit, it is in our best interest to keep up with what’s happening in politics, so we can be prepared and able to think about our future, and work for it accordingly.