Like with recycling, people think being political doesn’t makes a difference. So nobody does it, and the world becomes garbage.
There is no meaningful caring about the world that doesn’t involve politics. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. Yes, politics is unpleasant, it’s frustrating, it’s grueling, it takes immense time and energy – and no, no you can’t get a free pass and not do it. Who said being good was pleasant or easy? Yes it would be great if we lived in a world where we didn’t all have to be political, but we don’t get to choose what reality we live in. Most people in the world would happily trade places with someone who had the luxury of thinking that “maybe politics isn’t for me.”
When I say you should be political, I don’t mean following red vs. blue. I mean that you should be reading the news (global through local), and that you should stand up for what is right. In the total space of global politics (governments, militaries, economies, climates etc.) the donkey vs elephant duel is no more than an act in a circus show. The only reason it matters is because it passes for politics in the most powerful country in the world. And thus, what the clowns say actually ends up defining the planet’s trajectory.
It’s not that you aren’t interested in politics because American politics is a joke. It’s that American politics is a joke because you aren’t interested in politics.
If all Americans started reading the news, then our political system would fix itself. The problem isn’t corruption. The ignorance of the American people is what has allowed our government to corrupt. The problem isn’t evil either. Most Nazi, KKK, and ISIS members think they are doing good. It is their ignorance that makes them misguided.
Ultimately, good intentions do not have much to do with good beliefs or good actions.
The problem is disinterest and apathy. If you aren’t stopping the spread of bad beliefs, you are aiding their dissemination. When bad beliefs go unchallenged, they are validated. This is how bullying worked in middle school – this is how politics works in adulthood. The best protection against bad beliefs is knowledge. Your good intentions are irrelevant.
If you aren’t informed, you can’t know right from wrong.
If you think doing good is giving gays conversion therapy, think again. If you doing good is donating to the Red Cross to help Haiti earthquake victims, think again. If you think doing good is preaching abstinence for teens, think again. If you think doing good is fighting all GMO’s, think again.
If you think you can do good without being steeped in politics, think again, odds are you are doing more harm than good.
It is extremely difficult to do real good. The world is just too complex. You need to know how the world functions to know how your actions will affect it. Limiting your political knowledge to just the industry that you work in isn’t enough – everything is interconnected. Problems do not exist on their own. All problems have their roots in other problems, and one of the most fundamental problems is widespread ignorance.
To be a real citizen of the world, you have to learn about everything. This is a lifelong process; it never ends. But don’t let that discourage you. The worst thing you could do is not start. It is never too late to immerse yourself in the world and treat everyone else’s problems as though they are your own (which they are).
Just read the news every day. Reading the news is like washing your hands. It’s basic hygiene that helps prevent the spread of diseases.
I don’t believe that for people to do their political duty they need to change jobs or start protesting in the streets. All you need to do is read the news every day (5-10 minutes is enough) and then participate in discourse. Participating doesn’t even require arguing with people. You could just like and share articles on Facebook. That is enough.
The way to change the world is to change people’s minds. American politics isn’t broken due to corruption or evil; it is broken because of ignorance and apathy. So please, for your sake and for mine – please start reading the news. Start caring about politics. Start caring about what happens to everyone else in the world. Caring isn’t a feeling or belief; it is an action. So act. Make politics a habit in your daily life.