Why Politics Matters
In this day and age, it is easy to think of politics and our political system as a collection of unethical, dishonest individuals who have misaligned incentives with the general population. The easy thing is to be passive and to think that there isn’t much that you can do. After all, it is the government you are talking about. You are just one person.
Because of that, it is all too easy to put politics in the back of your mind and focus on other pressing things in your personal life.
In other words, the stereotypical attitude toward politics can be summed up in this one phrase:
“I am just one person. I just have one vote. How can I make a difference?”
We urge you to challenge that sentiment. While today’s political climate is not for the faint of heart, your opinion—and especially your actions—make a difference in the future of your community and your country.
The Importance of Politics
Simply put, politics matters. For as frustrating as it can seem, politics affects our lives in more ways than you think, from determining how much of your paycheck you are able to keep to whether you need to wait even longer for your train or bus. Are you frustrated with police brutality, whether your family or friends can live in the United States, or the number of guns in your community? Politics can address—and even solve—some or all of those problems.
And to take a longer-term view, do you care about the futures of your children or grandchildren? If so, politics impacts whether they will have better lives than yours.
We live in an era of name-calling, bitter partisanship, and politicians appealing to the lowest denominator. And it’s safe to say that all of us —especially younger people—are feeling more pessimistic toward politics and government. As just one example, a survey by MTV and the Associated Press-NORC Center found that over half of respondents (ages 15 to 34) are doubtful that Americans of different ideological or political viewpoints can come together and work to solve divisive issues.
While you may feel cynical or pessimistic, we have real problems to solve. There are deep economic and racial divides in our country. Tribalism and partisanship have become more ingrained in our society. Political news adds a significant amount of fuel to the fire, as “debates” on cable news television programs often devolve into shouting and ten second sound bites.
As an individual that cares about politics, you can play a role in the future of your community and your country. The population’s waning interest in politics means that your vote has a larger impact in elections. But beyond that, activism—whether that is protesting for or against a particular cause, making campaign calls, or simply calling your elected official with a concern—goes a long way in affecting the political process.
While it is easy to be pessimistic now, you can shape the future through your interest in politics and your action within the political system.
Think of it this way: while you may not pay much attention to politics or government on a daily basis, decisions made by your elected officials are impacting your life on a daily basis. It’s just difficult to see or hear about them unless you pay attention and care about the details.
We’re here to make this task easier for you.
On this page, you can find interviews, blogs, and videos on a wide range of political topics—regardless of your familiarity with politics or the political system. You will find everything from articles on the basics of U.S. politics to current political events and opinions. If you want to educate yourself on what’s really going on in your local, state, or federal government, you have come to the right place.
No matter your political stance, politics matters. And along with this, voting and activism are the best way to affect the political system. But before doing that, it’s important to be educated.
Through our work, we hope to help you learn more about politics and use that knowledge to make change in your community, state, and country. We are looking forward to seeing what you can do!