BOZTEPE: Awareness is rare but critical in contemporary politics

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or affiliated with another party, being politically aware is essential, especially in the current political climate. 

Politics have always been and will always be the principal driving force in the world as those in charge control what happens and which way our nation goes. Many people claim to be “non-political” as they feel that politics is too complex and messy, but I am here to share with you that even if it can be difficult at times, we must be involved with the system that affects not only our daily lives but the lives of our families for generations to come.

A political understanding of the world provides you with the tools needed to vote for those you believe best represent your beliefs. If you care deeply for health care to become a human right or that immediate action is needed to face climate change, then you must look for the politician that resembles the same values and beliefs you hold. 

If your fear of being politically aware is due to your anxiety of debating with others, I have good news for you: Political debates will only help you further understand what your own morals and beliefs are. Knowing where you stand on crucial issues such as women’s reproductive rights, climate change, gun control, immigration and health care will help you easily select the candidates you believe will resemble your views. 

If you take some time to research these key issues you will notice yourself instinctively pulling towards a specific candidate or party.

Unfortunately, we live in an era filled with ignorance, as with technological advancement comes its downfalls. The internet is continuing to grow exponentially along with the number of people who currently have smartphones, meaning we now have constant access to endless amounts of news sources. 

This has its positives and negatives of course. The positive is you are given the opportunity to be more politically aware than ever before, yet the negative is that there are now so many sources of information that you might not be sure what to believe, especially if you are not well-versed in said subjects.

In the past, if something was right or wrong, only a few credible sources would state their reasons, but in the current technological age, if you search the internet enough you will be able to find any viewpoint imaginable. Separating accurate information from gossip has never been more difficult due to social media. 

The more politically aware you are, the less ignorant you will be. I do not mean ignorant in a derogatory manner, but ignorant in terms of politics, is in my view, selfishness. Understanding politics is our way of being able to care about what is going on in our country, what direction we want our country to go and it is a way that people are able to feel for one another, regardless if it is compassion or distaste.

Political awareness will help you with your personal skills too since your research into candidates and the policies they propose will give you the ability to identify their motives, interests and their power of influence. It will also help your relational skills as your new-found political awareness will help you explain to people why you believe what you do while still showing the opposing person you value their view or lack of. You will be better able to handle conflict and have better analyzing skills of which way a person is leaning and why. 

Opinions can change, whether it be yours or the person you are debating with. Regardless, if you are politically aware and sharing your views, you are doing so because you believe these views are the best for our nation and future.

At a time in which our country is at a crossroads on many integral issues, we must carefully listen to what each candidate has to say and after researching, determine if they have the support to back up their claims and if they match with the issues and solutions that are important to us. 

Being politically aware is just as much of civic duty as is voting. Even if the candidate you wanted to win does not get into office, you can still proudly say you did your part in being one of the puzzle pieces of democracy. 

I leave my readers with this one last notion to remember: It is vital for us to be able to think for ourselves and develop our own viewpoints based on accurate research and sources from unbiased media to move forward toward a better tomorrow.

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences senior double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," typically runs  on alternate Tuesdays.  


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