It’s probably no surprise that the majority of people, and especially the younger generations, aren’t really interested in politics, nor do they make an effort to expand their knowledge in this area. Politics is a complex concept with many distinct and sometimes even contradictory definitions, but it’s usually described as the sum of actions and activities related to the governance of a certain country or area and the distribution of power in any ruling structure.
The description alone is enough to make some people yawn or create even more confusion around the topic. Moreover, the term politics has earned a rather negative connotation, being associated with unscrupulous, corruptible and dishonest individuals who seek power at all costs and put their own interests above everyone else’s. The lack of interest in the common good and the disproportionate focus on individual success is considered to be the root of all evil in a society.
It’s easy to understand why politics is not the most attractive topic under the sun and why most people don’t feel motivated to engage in any political activity. It remains for many a mysterious, complicated and controversial subject that they prefer to steer clear of. In fact, some even take pride in not caring about politics and don’t see any reason why they should.
However, political ignorance is hardly something to be proud of. Even if the world of politics seems dull and uninteresting to you, it’s still important to understand it, so here’s why you and everyone else should care about it.
Political thought is embedded in human nature
Let’s start with the fact that human beings are by nature political animals. It’s not us who came up with this theory, but the Greek philosopher Aristotle. The ancient polymath believed that humans are political creatures by essence because they possess social skills and have the capacity to reason. So, politics have been around since the beginning of mankind, in one form or another.
Obviously, political structures have evolved over time and those that existed in the early days don’t look anything like the political systems that govern the countries and territories in the modern world. But it does prove the point that politics is necessary for societies to function. People have always sought to organize themselves in different types of associations in order to cover their needs. In other words, politics is ingrained in our thinking. Our view of the world is both shaped by it and shapes it in turn.
Politics concerns us all
Just because you’re not involved in politics and you don’t care for it doesn’t mean it doesn’t care for you. Whether you’re aware of it or not, politics impacts nearly every area and aspect of your life, and it’s much better to be aware of how the world around you works than to be oblivious to the forces at play and how they might affect you.
So, unless you live alone in the middle of nowhere, far away from any form of civilization, politics is going to play a huge role in your daily life, from taxes and wages to healthcare, housing, education, infrastructure and everything in between. And even if you choose to completely disconnect yourself from society and lead a life of solitude, the long arm of politics might still reach you from afar one day.
Understanding politics helps one make more informed decisions
Since politics permeates every corner of our existence and governments dictate the direction we’re headed, it’s important to understand the motions that take place behind the scenes or in front of you so you can make better-informed decisions.
You need to know who makes the laws, the types of institutions, bodies and agencies that govern your region or country and their respective attributions, and what rights and responsibilities you have as a citizen in order to navigate the complexities of modern society.
People often feel powerless and think that with or without their involvement, things are going to remain the same. But the truth is that politics is a two-way street, in the sense that it influences people’s lives but it’s also influenced by the masses.
This means you have a voice and a platform to express your thoughts and concerns, and your opinions matter. By getting involved in politics, you can enact change in society and influence decision-makers who have no choice but to adapt to the context of the moment and shape their actions based on the interests of the community.
Voting is the most relevant example in this respect as it allows people to participate in civic life and contribute to governance. That’s why market research is important in politics, with organisations and institutions of all kinds conducting extensive studies to better understand public opinions so they can move in the right direction.
The entertainment factor
Politics is not something that people do or keep up with for fun, but it does serve some good entertainment from time to time. Sometimes, watching political debates can be as exhilarating as watching a sports competition, and the excitement grows if you also have a horse in the race.
Elections offer a display of political entertainment at its best with different parties and candidates competing against each other for the electorate’s votes. These political races ensue all sorts of discussions, debates, controversies and sometimes even scandals in the public sphere that can be quite gripping when analyzed with a critical eye.
Politics is a heavy topic that one doesn’t usually discuss at parties or family gatherings unless you want everyone to get into a fight about who’s right and who’s wrong. But you also don’t want to be so far removed from the political realities of the time as to not understand the power they hold over your life. You also don’t have to support a certain party or have strong political beliefs, but you do need to have a good grasp of politics and its implications as a member of society.