Politics dictate the course of action our governments undertake in building our society. Now more than ever, there has been a resurgence in protest, especially with World Crises coming to the forefront of politics- such as police brutality, systemic racism, and the Yemen Crisis. As people under the jurisdiction of Governments, how does our involvement in politics affect us? For one, politics are not exclusive to Local issues and governments, nor do they merely pertain to the election of our future leaders. It involves so much more than that. Our involvement in politics is a voice, a voice that not only influences the system we choose to be governed under, but a voice that shapes public perception and beliefs. Ultimately, how our world plays out is dependent on this voice. Being involved in politics extends beyond voting during every major election, it means to be constantly aware of our Global issues, and being brave enough to voice them out, fearlessly standing up for our beliefs in hopes that it benefits the wider society around us. Being involved in politics is to lend your voice in a choir of justice, because the effect of one voice is negligible, but a cacophony, escalating to a crescendo of passion and beliefs, has the potential to change the world.
Firstly, let’s talk about the baseline of politics. The power to elect our leaders into office. This may seem trivial, after all, one vote against millions may seem small, but like what every leader says: Every vote counts. A vote is more than a number, it is symbolic of a nation’s support for the selected candidate. By casting your vote responsibly, you are electing the system under which you rather be governed under. Is it for the republicans or the democrats? Is it because of the public schemes and initiatives proposed? Is it because your candidate happens to espouse the very values ideal to your idea of a leader? Who knows. But either way, one vote can make a world of difference, because it not only represents your choice of leaders, it represents the standards you hold your nation to. Under great leadership, any country has the potential to prosper. But under irresponsible governments, a country will descend into a myriad of issues, as can be seen by the several countries governed by people who abuse their power to subjugate their citizens. Plato, a great philosopher once said: One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Make your voice heard, because if you don’t, it may end up being silenced by the very people we elect.
Now that we’ve established the importance of exercising basic political responsibilities, let’s move up a notch and discuss why politics matter in our everyday lives.
Politics influence our world in an intangible yet lasting way, and we see this by how principles that governed our world in colonial times have spread into our modern lives, running rampant in various forms of oppression such as gender inequality, racism, and homophobia, etc. Such ideals have indoctrinated huge populations since before many of us were even born, and yet till today, our generation continually suffers the effects of such bigotry that has permeated into our society. These long-held beliefs are hard to repress, and at times even the best of us may find ourselves lapsing into misconceptions and stereotypes. Mindsets perpetuated by the leading bodies of our world will set a precedence for our future generations, and that’s why every contribution counts. Under-representation remains a common issue in modern-day governments, and we see leaders dictating policies that vastly contradict their humanitarian sentiments for their people. A lack of understanding between leaders and people is dangerous, because not only are they ignorant to the daily woes and troubles of an ordinary citizen, after a while it may precipitate in complete dominance, wherein our leaders disregard the needs of the people for the needs of themselves. Without the people’s voice to guide them in establishing a system that benefits all, the overbearing silence just means that their echoing voices hold more power in determining your livelihood. So let us continue to be boisterous and candid in expressing our views. Your voice may end up representing a group of an oppressed minority, so rather than letting yourself be trampled by the supremacist, let yourself be heard.
Will we see immediate effects? Perhaps not. But change rarely happens overnight. What we need to do is to persevere, so that our tomorrow is a brighter version of today. Without the efforts of pioneers of change such as Martin Luther King who helped to suppress racism and bring about the ideal of harmony between different races in the United States of America, Malala Yousafzai who fought for education rights for girls in less developed countries, and lastly Early Feminists which include Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jane Addams, and Dorothy Day who gave coloured woman a voice, etc, our world would be a very different one; one much more bleak and discriminatory.
A storm can begin with a flap of a wing, now more than ever, in this growing age of awareness we have the chance to speak up and enact the change we want to see. Let’s lend our stories in writing the history books, because how we act today will influence our tomorrow. In 100 years, when our grandchildren look upon our generation, let it be in admiration and wonder, and not leave them in the dust wondering why we allowed ourselves to stay silent.