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Why are you interested in politics?

by Gale
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Gale
#1
Apr26-06, 07:13 PM
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So, i personally hate politics. Why? because they're too complicated, discussing them causes big fights, and usually there's not a lot an individual can do, and i'm not particularly interested in forming some sort of activist group.

Based on that, i can't figure out why anyone, (especially average joe.. or just any non-politician type person) is interested in (national or international) politics. and what do you think the effects are of the average persons political interest?
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Astronuc
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Apr26-06, 07:42 PM
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Because it affects our lives, and our economic welfare and security, on a daily basis.

I also got from my dad who was interested in world history, international affairs, and political science.

Plus I get involved in things, and it helps to know the players (and potential adversaries).

And then there is history -

A very interesting essay about Plato and his Dialogues by Bernard F. Suzanne
http://eawc.evansville.edu/essays/suzanne.htm

which begins with

When I was young, I felt like so many in that situation: I expected, as soon as I would become master of myself, to go straight to the city's affairs. And here is how I happened to find the state of public affairs then: many being dissatisfied with the existing constitution, a revolution took place...,

and how many of us find ourselves in that position as a young adult?
Hurkyl
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Apr26-06, 09:51 PM
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I am mainly amazed at the specious arguments I see people use to support their opinions and to convince others, and when I'm in the mood I try to point out the problems in the hopes of helping at least a handful of people recognize that the arguments are flawed.

Otherwise, I'm rather apathetic about politics. Public opinion is all together too random for my tastes.

Anttech
#4
Apr27-06, 05:32 AM
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Why are you interested in politics?

Politics is burned into Human DNA... We all play political games day in day out, at work at home with friends... After all we all are "Political Animals" One of the main reason why we have evolved so far (IMO).
SOS2008
#5
Apr28-06, 12:21 AM
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I have started work on a blog called "Stop Freeloading."

Briefly it will address lack of interest in not only politics, but also lack of involvement in the community and even one's neighborhood. It ranges from voting to belonging on an HOA board. Voting is a privilege, but also a responsibility. Everyone should vote but at the same time he/she should be properly informed before voting. There is a difference between being informed and being an expert. You don't have to have a degree in Political Science, but only need to watch or read the news on occasion instead of football or "American Idol." It isn't so complicated. I know many people who can discuss most issues intelligently without politics being their passion or being news junkies.

My time volunteered on my HOA has helped to increase the values of everyone's property in my community. Yet we have so much difficulty getting members on the board. My time writing representatives about measures to ensure proper competition in the telecommunications industry may help lower costs to you as a consumer as well. And so forth, and so forth.

I don't accept these excuses or apathy. To me it's just freeloading.
loseyourname
#6
Apr28-06, 04:10 AM
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That's a tad bit pretentious. So a member of a society cannot contribute in any way but by freeloading unless she is interested in and involved in political activity? Come on. I'm sure there are plenty of other things Gale does that are valuable to her peers and to the larger community. Are most of us freeloading right now by enjoying the fruits of the computer revolution, even though we contributed nothing to it and did nothing to choose its leaders?

Man is certainly a political animal, but man also evolved in small bands of people that saw each other on a near daily basis and were mostly closely related. Caring about and hoping to have any significant impact on the large, impersonal bureaucracies of imagined communities that sprawl across entire continents is anything but natural. Go ahead and do it, but I can understand perfectly well when others do not.
SOS2008
#7
Apr28-06, 03:00 PM
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Quote Quote by loseyourname
That's a tad bit pretentious. So a member of a society cannot contribute in any way but by freeloading unless she is interested in and involved in political activity? Come on. I'm sure there are plenty of other things Gale does that are valuable to her peers and to the larger community. Are most of us freeloading right now by enjoying the fruits of the computer revolution, even though we contributed nothing to it and did nothing to choose its leaders?

Man is certainly a political animal, but man also evolved in small bands of people that saw each other on a near daily basis and were mostly closely related. Caring about and hoping to have any significant impact on the large, impersonal bureaucracies of imagined communities that sprawl across entire continents is anything but natural. Go ahead and do it, but I can understand perfectly well when others do not.
Though the OP was by Gale, I was responding to all the posts and to the topic in general--no offense intended to her.

Did I say people must make politics their passion? No, I said people should at least watch or read the news on occasion so that they have some idea of what is going on around them. Especially those who vote, and we all should vote.

People spend a lot of time following celebrities, or favorite TV programs, or video games that they become experts at--now poker is all the rage. Sports is the best example of all. Not only are there people who devote hours following their favorite sport/team and knowing every statistic, but often it has been a higher priority than education in our schools and universities. This is a sign of an empire that has become spoiled and complacent. These things are only forms of entertainment, and should be treated as such.

Prison inmates complain of boredom and the need for mental stimulation. Many earn college degrees while in prison. With this in mind, I can't believe our society is dumbing down because there is nothing to eat stupid people anymore. I have a theory that entertainment provides artificial mental stimulation that distract humans from their innate desire to learn. Most kids don't read anymore--not even for pleasure. They aren't engaged at a very early stage in more meaningful topics, which eventually are viewed as too complicated and boring. It's no wonder we aren't producing more scientists, doctors, engineers, etc.

I for one am not interested in wasting my time discussing office gossip, sports, or the latest reality TV program each day at lunch. What will any of it mean in the future? Will it prepare our children for good paying jobs? Will it help achieve peace in the world? Will it slow/reverse global warming? And so forth and so forth?

We've addressed the topic of politics not being "politically correct" before. I admit that I am careful who I reveal my political opinions to. Gale is right that it can result in hard feelings. I believe this has become more the case with recent polarization, which in large part is a result of a divide and conquer Rovian strategy of BushCo. It's unfortunate, because debate is a fundamental element of democracy. I watched a program the other evening about Robert Oppenheimer, and how this brilliant scientist was humiliated by our government for speaking out against nuclear proliferation. This kind of suppression cannot be accepted. We must always encourage freedom of speech and exchange of ideas.

As for "freeloading," I provided a couple of examples of how people can make a difference as individuals. But the list is endless, so surely there is something for everyone, and individuals can make a difference. People don't have to be an activist, but they should be aware and at least vote intelligently. Otherwise, yes, they are freeloading.
russ_watters
#8
Apr28-06, 04:07 PM
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Quote Quote by Gale
So, i personally hate politics. Why? because they're too complicated, discussing them causes big fights, and usually there's not a lot an individual can do, and i'm not particularly interested in forming some sort of activist group.

Based on that, i can't figure out why anyone, (especially average joe.. or just any non-politician type person) is interested in (national or international) politics. and what do you think the effects are of the average persons political interest?
I know that the individual reality is that one person can't make a difference, but when a lot of people start thinking that way, we end up with the votor turnout situation we now have in the US. And then the demise of democracy becomse self-fulfilling.

Democracy only works if you believe in it and if you believe in it, it works. So I believe in it.
Hurkyl
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Apr28-06, 04:15 PM
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If I may lighten the mood, this reminds me of a Simpsons episode...

Springfield had just passed a curfew law that anyone under the age of 65 had to be in their homes after dark. The Simpson family was watching Kent Brockman report on it. (From his own home, of course!) Kent reported that the legislation passed by a single vote.

Marge nags Homer, "Homer, you really should have voted."

Homer replies, "Pssh, it wouldn't have made a difference."
Art
#10
Apr28-06, 06:07 PM
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Quote Quote by SOS2008
Though the OP was by Gale, I was responding to all the posts and to the topic in general--no offense intended to her.

Did I say people must make politics their passion? No, I said people should at least watch or read the news on occasion so that they have some idea of what is going on around them. Especially those who vote, and we all should vote.
I agree folk who do not vote should also forfeit the right to complain when they don't like the decisions their representatives make.

BTW SOS would you ever clear out your PM folder!!!
SOS2008
#11
Apr28-06, 06:51 PM
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Quote Quote by Art
I agree folk who do not vote should also forfeit the right to complain when they don't like the decisions their representatives make.

BTW SOS would you ever clear out your PM folder!!!
That and a little more than that. Societal norms are very important. Why are the good students made fun of and called geeks? In the meantime shallow people avoid all the things that make them feel embarrassed. And I say they should be ashamed, because if they wanted to, they could do something about it.

Bush was elected largely because people identify with his stupidity--just great! Aside from voter turn out being low, I can't tell you how many people I know who vote with their gut (emotional appeal) instead of trying to really understand the issues. That's why we face the problems we are facing in Iraq, and a whole long list of issues. This is even more disconcerting to me than not voting.

Let's say it -- Shame on shallow people!

P.S., I've cleared my inbox.
loseyourname
#12
Apr29-06, 03:07 AM
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Quote Quote by SOS2008
Did I say people must make politics their passion? No, I said people should at least watch or read the news on occasion so that they have some idea of what is going on around them. Especially those who vote, and we all should vote.
You're right. I'm just a little apprehensive about "involved" people that condescend toward those who don't take much of an active role in a community. Not all people are as social, or even care. But you're right. People should take some notice of what is going on in the world around them and in particular be aware of how what they're doing affects that world.


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