Politics have followed humankind since tribal times. Although systems have progressed to what we know as democracy today, the importance of politics is seldom overlooked. Indeed, it is common to hear, especially from younger people, that politics are corrupted and useless. Still, most of the countries in the modern world choose some kind of political design to rule over their citizens.
We are going to analyze politics inside the education system and also in society in an attempt to understand more about their role in today`s world. Also, we are going to go over what you can do to get involved.
Are you ready? Buckle up, because here we go!
Importance of politics in education
To begin with, it is paramount to analyze the way we are introduced to politics. It is safe to say that, unless you come from a highly politicized family, you hear about it at school first. Indeed, formal education involves a historical approach to politics but it doesn’t quite explain it fully. This is to say that we, as kids and teenagers, learn about history, but do not have an insight into how the system works in depth. We learn about past presidencies but learn very little about how they got to power, what were their convictions, and what motivated people to vote for them or not.
Also, we never fully grasp the structure of the system and how it works. It is not common to find people with a clear notion about ministries, secretaries, and the role of each. For example, not everybody is familiar with the difference between deputies and senators. Can you imagine teachers going for a field trip to The House of Congress, for example? That could spark interest in the younger generations.
Why is political knowledge important?
Why exactly is political knowledge important? A way of answering that question could be to say that political knowledge can be translated into power in a democratic society. This is partly because candidates require votes to get elected. Thus, they need to convince citizens that they are the best option.
Could a non-knowledgeable society be deceived easier than a knowledgeable one? That is one of the main reasons why having thorough, in-depth political knowledge can lead to a society making more informed, better choices when voting. This statement is backed up by most countries’ constitutions that make voting a civic duty. Citizens are required to participate in voting and hence should be informed before making a decision.
What do new generations think about politics?
New generations, what do they think about politics? As an example, we could take some data from the last election in the United States (one of the few countries in the world where voting is not mandatory). Arguably, due to the #Blacklivesmatter movement and following social revolts, the percentage of voters was the highest since 1908. This is to say that the number of voters grew from 136 million people in 2016 to 165 million people in 2020. What does this increment mean? We could read it from several perspectives:
It matters – Recent revolts that made it to the media were led by youngsters who took the word publicly with wisdom and courage. The message they were trying to put across was that actions matter and can change reality. Could this be translated to more voters? Recent research indicates that highly politicized environments influence youngsters’ involvement.
Believing in change through a vote – The idea that voting could generate a change had been abandoned by most people. Common phrases like “if voting could change something, it would be illegal” could be heard from youngsters and elder people alike. We could say that the increase in voting participation could mean a restored belief in the system.
Importance of politics in society
Now that we’ve seen how this path starts, it is time to understand the importance of politics in society. Furthermore, we could ask ourselves if we can speak about society without speaking about politics. If we go back in time, we can find different shapes of politics in almost every human age known until now. From a monarchy to a democracy, they are all forms of government with their politics.
Fast forward to the present, if we continue to use the same example about the recent election in the US, we can say that in the 2016 election the biggest party was the non-voting party with almost 100 million people. Arguably, it was the decision to vote made by some of those who had been reluctant 4 years before that changed the course of the country’s last election.
Choosing one candidate over the other could change the direction of the country’s politics. For example, the Trump Administration reversed more than 100 environmental rules and also stepped down from the Paris Agreement. These measures had a drastic and immediate impact directly on people’s everyday life.
Why participation matter?
There is more than one way to participate in politics. The best-known one is through voting. Taking responsibility for the future of your country, region, state, province, and the city is paramount to generate change. Although it seems insignificant, it is the small effort of each citizen that counts in the final result.
The second way, although less popular, is much more effective: getting involved in a political party. Being the change you would like to see in the next election is something that might seem far or odd, but it is the most important way of using politics to change the world. Instead of complaining about no candidate suiting your needs, it is better to become the candidate that can live up to those expectations.
By living in a democratic society, we agree to our part of the contract; politics are a huge part of our lives whether we choose to participate or not.
Moreover, the world keeps turning, and candidates keep on being elected and deciding upon the fate of many even if we have no voice in it. Overlooking the importance of politics is failing in putting in our grain of sand to make the world a better place.
Get involved, be the change you wish to see in the world.