Politics is one of the most important social constructs in history. Along with only a handful of other concepts it has an influence in everyone’s life, like it or not. Society and life are molded by decisions taken by elected representatives. Laws, prices, only to name a few, are or have been influenced in a certain way by the political spectrum. In today’s society, it is imperative that each of us stay up to date with what is happening in the political world, and act upon it in a democratic way.
In the following paragraphs we’re going to take a look at a few elementary but essential ways how to stay politically aware and act upon our best judgement.
News and media outlets: Real vs fake
By the grace of smartphones and the Internet, we have instant access to virtually any news outlet on the planet. How we choose to use the information we are reading is totally up to us, but it is very important to be aware of what is happening in today’s environment. Some side effects of the digital era are the targeted ads and the fake news phenomena. Essentially, these two concepts are meant to influence your thinking through repeated information regarding a chosen topic. As we move on from classic ads and venture deeply into the relatively new digital reality, we have to educate ourselves to discern truth from beautiful lies.
The most useful tool we have to combat the fake is free and can be used by anyone. Before rushing to a quick judgement or simply accepting a statement – use your brain. Read more upon the subject, think about it, analyze it, and only after that make a decision about what you are reading.
Staying informed, analyzing, searching for facts and critiquing the information is one of the most effective ways to stay ahead of the fake news and targeted ads phenomena.
Follow your political leaders
You follow the news outlets but you don’t know who to vote? One essential way to be politically aware is to follow your elected leaders or candidates. But be warry about this; most politicians have PR teams trying to make sure they are portrayed as nearly perfect individuals. Flashy or touching speeches generosity, humility can go a long way – but only when they are genuine. In order not to be tricked by a beautiful mask, make sure you like what’s behind it. Question the social media posts, see if they are consistent with what they are saying in interviews, and follow their political activity. Nowadays, you can read or follow transcripts of most public political meetings or activities online. There’s no better way to see if a politician is consistent with what he or she is saying than to follow them at work, where it really matters.
Be more engaged in social activities
Political awareness is not only about politicians; it’s also about ourselves. Generally, we want a better world, but ideally that should happen with a minimum personal effort. Granted, living in 2020 is a great time to be alive in, and humanity has done a tremendous job in a lot of sectors. Goods, healthcare, average life span, have witnessed incredible growth compared to previous decades or years. Ironically, the sense of insecurity seems to be increasing more and more. Natural catastrophes, social uprisings, political tensions – just to name a few – are contrasting to all good things done by humanity. New York Times’ 2019 review punctuates the problems we are facing going forward.
Ok, now you are asking how or why are these anecdotes relevant to being politically aware. The answer is simple and straightforward – we all have to do our bit to change the world for the better. To overcome our problems as a society, we all should do our fair share. A simple way to better understand your community’s problems and observe potential solutions is to involve yourself or volunteer in different activities. Doing so will let you have a better understanding of what’s surrounding you, and will make you have realistic expectations regarding your political leadership.
The vote is the most important tool in a democracy, and many people tend ignore or don’t understand its power. Moreover, they are not aware that the universal voting right is relatively new and there have been hard fought battles to obtain it. As an example, 2020 marks a century since U.S. women won their voting right in all the states through the Nineteenth Amendment.
Being politically aware means that we have to understand its importance, what it stands for, and how to use it. The vote should be your responsible answer to the problems you and your peers are facing. In a way, the vote represents the pinnacle of being politically aware. Your vote is the result of you being politically aware or apathetic about politics.
By being politically aware you’ll have more knowledge about what is happening in the world; you’ll be more informed and will be able to make better decisions not only for you, but for your community. Sure, politics may seem like a very complicated game and you may feel powerless about it, but there are many ways to make your voice heard, and through these ways everyone can make a small but significant difference in the world.
This article is originally posted at ChangeRoots.com”