Being apolitical leads to more dire consequences for the majority
Contrary to popular belief, the hold politics has on our lives goes beyond wearing ballers with your preferred political candidates stamped on them and campaign posters plastered on walls or strung across roofs. It does not stop after casting your vote and getting your fingernail stained black with ink. No, politics is personal.
Like political psychologist Christopher Federico says, “What political psychology brings to the table is … understanding individual motivations and how we make sense of this complex world.” Your political values reflect your beliefs. Your ideologies. These are factors that are strongly linked to your identity. Your morality is tethered to the insights that you stand behind.
With that kind of responsibility nestled onto your shoulders, you would think that people would actively go above and beyond to exercise their rights to be involved in political affairs, right? So, why do people believe in, even advocate for, disengagement from politics? Why is being neutral toward government action still prevalent? And above all, why is staying silent considered a valid course of action?
You know, there’s a word that perfectly encompasses the aversion to political affairs: It’s called being apolitical. There’s also a word that perfectly encompasses the manifestation of its consequences: It’s called oppression.
Oppression rears its ugly head whenever someone brushes off the importance of freedom of speech or the blatant power imbalance the patriarchy allows for. It digs its claws deeper into the justice system we have spent years building and tears it into shreds whenever rape culture is downplayed or when a member of the LGBTQ+ community is discriminated against. Oppression swiftly grows into an enormous, festering mass of contempt with every single privileged person that turns a blind eye to these issues and remains in their little bubble of apolitical luxury.
The way we actively choose to behave when faced with matters concerning politics is a stepping stone toward the betterment of our communities. Or, if you choose to stay nonchalant, then the lack thereof. Taking a stand can be extremely daunting. It could lead to being isolated from your peers or facing the brunt of hate speech and harassment online. But when human rights are expeditiously being ridden roughshod over, how can anyone sit back and continue to put other people at significant risk? Pretending the problem does not exist directly fuels the subjugation that countless marginalized communities suffer through, day in and day out.
Now, with election season reaching its zenith, it brings forth yet another civic responsibility that everyone should practice: voting. Voting is not accessible to everyone, which is why it is of great importance that we use our voices for those that cannot. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, voting is the most important thing you can do to make an impact in your community. A lot of people underestimate the weight of their vote; brushing it off as a mere droplet of water amongst the ocean’s insurmountable waves. But together, we can step up to our responsibilities and fight for a better future.
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