What if we all stopped talking about politics?
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Stop talking about politics, nobody can agree, and it just upsets everybody. That is the advice we are often given. We cannot change the results of the election so why bother, it never ends well? These common pieces of advice are thrown around especially during the holidays, just weeks before Donald Trump will take office as America’s 45th President. So, imagine an America that stopped talking about politics. Instead of discussing climate change, we could talk about our flower gardens, the conditions of the ski slopes, and our dogs. What if we never spoke a word about gun laws or trade agreements, health care, or about what our leaders plans for our future? We could simply pay our bills, go to work, come home, and ignore the issues that don’t impact our lives directly. All the while politicians in DC, Democrat and Republican alike, are left to quietly go about with their political agendas and those of their donors. What if we all stopped watching the news, and started watching more cartoons and sitcoms? Then, one-by-one our news outlets, The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and BBC, would shut down because no one cares about what our politicians do anymore, or we do, but silence ourselves in fear of sparking controversy. Months could pass with no one watching the news. Children would be raised with only their parents’ perspective on politics. Life appears to go on, but even though the nation might seem to have healed, it would only be a band aid on an open wound. But, one day, your next door neighbors could be deported because a new law on immigration was passed without anyone noticing. Next, you realize your insurance premiums skyrocket, and you have no idea why. A few months later, free birth control might not be available because our government cut funding for planned parenthood. One day your next door neighbor might be dragged out of his house and his guns destroyed by police because the second amendment was repealed. And the family that lives down the street? The parents were both let go from their jobs because the factories were moved overseas.
Now people are outraged. How were they not aware of any of this? There are riots in the street, and the police forces are brutal. Anyone who voices an opinion against the government is imprisoned because it’s their beliefs are contrary to our politicians’ agendas. What few news outlets remain now belong to the government. Now our country would be in shambles, and the people would have done it to themselves.
If anything came out of the 2016 election, it’s that the power belongs to the people, but only when we are willing to share with our leaders what we believe in. Our government has a responsibility to act in its people’s best interests, and are often inclined to do so, because it earns our trust, and our vote. At a time when so many feel unprotected by the new administration, and many Americans are frightened by the policies of the opposing party, the time for us to become more involved is now. Instead of having screaming arguments, we need to learn to listen to each other with more attention, to gain perspective, to see both sides of the story.
So the next time someone brings up politics, engage, learn something. Call your local and state representatives and give them a piece of your (knowledgeable) mind. Walk in a protest for something you passionately believe in. Vote as you see fit, not as your party sees fit. Our founding fathers broke away from Great Britain to give us a voice in how we are governed, and we must never forget that.