Saturday, 30 June 2007
The Importance of Politics
It is very, very sad to see so many people nowadays who describe themselves as "apolitical"! It is sad to see this because should you have to ask these same individuals what they think about various issues, you will immediately realise that their views reflect one or more political orientations without their being aware of this!!! At this stage, I ask myself, is it really possible to be "apolitical"?
A person might be totally apathetic about the nature of politics or about which party is governing the country, but politics encompasses numerous sets of beliefs. Whether one likes it or not, a set of beliefs could easily be related to a political doctrine. Imagine if I had to ask you whether you agree that an individual should be obliged to work for 18 hours a day, that prostitution should be legalised, that you should spend a year in the army as soon as you are eighteen years old, what would you say? Regardless of the specific answer you give, whatever you say has probably already been voiced in perhaps slighty different ways in the political arena. And, whether you are aware of this or not, the dominant beliefs have ended up affecting the lives of thousands of people living in a particular country. Your current lifestyle, the choices that are available to you today, are largely a result of a series of political twists and turns.
To the person who is happy to go through life without attaching any importance to politics, my message is: WAKE UP!!! Open your eyes because some, if not most, of the big decisions you are going to make are probably going to be highly determined by what has been decided in your country's parliament. Furthermore, do not support a particular political party simply because your family has always done so; ask the appropriate questions, do your research, analyse what is said and done, and let your findings guide you! By taking an interest as well as participating in politics, you will be equipping yourself to be able to make a number of positive differences in this world! Of course, politicians will make mistakes, but that is unfortunately inevitable once we acknowledge the fallibility of human beings.
In my case, even though I have been interested in politics from a very early age, I only started appreciating its incredibly strong and pervasive impact when I moved to Spain in 2003. When I ended up working without paid sick leave, with a salary that varied almost every month and most of which was spent on rent and survival, when I sometimes started working at 8AM and returned home at 0930PM, when I saw countless individuals begging in the streets or trying to earn a few Euros by getting involved in black market activities, I initially thought that such things happened because of bad luck. After a while, when my Spanish was sufficiently good to allow me to read the newspapers and to watch the news on TV, I realised that such situations had much more to do with politics than with luck!!! I will not go into all the details of how I moved from being a right-wing person to becoming a left-wing one since the story is quite long; at this stage, I am only sharing this personal testimony with the hope that other people might also appreciate the importance of politics in the effort to live a better life in a more peaceful world.
This post was originally written on 07/01/2007.