Monday, August 6, 2007

How To Follow Politics

As I usually do, I was having a discussion with a friend. After discussing literature (also, par for the course), we got into a discussion about politics. As I'm an active follower of politics and my friend is not, I was trying to think about ways in which a person uninterested in politics can become interested in politics. Trying to answer this problem is a hard one because of the nature of politics at its core. Politics is an abstract field of study. In my opinion, it would be next to possible to write a book about the field and explain why people should spend their time following it and attempting to give a damn about it.

I know that there are politics people reading this who have just turned bright red and are seething with anger, so let me explain. Being interested in politics comes with the realization that one has an interest in the public welfare and issues relating to it, in particular the functioning of the government. But, this interest does not disregard those people who aren't interested in the political machinations on Capitol Hill. So, with this vagueness in play, there are not a lot of options to get people interested in politics.

The loss of Civics classes in high school can probably be seen as a way in which political disinterest can be bred within a new generation of American youth. I believe that these youth are failing to understand the nature of the American project and their role within this great experiment we call democracy. The easiest way to understand this project is to learn the documents that make up its base. Yes, that's right. Taking all of about fifteen minutes and reading the documents which make up the fine core of this nation: The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If you didn't know that these were two separate documents, you're already learning.

The reason that the basic documents of America that explain the whole of the American experience and the American political system. The only way that this knowledge can be added to is by reading the newspaper day to day. It's written simply, effectively, and neutrally. Well, it should be on that last front. But still, the newspaper is the only way in which a person can challenge society and understand the ways in which the morals of the country are being upheld or violated. It is our responsibility to stay focused on how our government is representing our interests as citizens. Following politics and the ways in which our government operates are the only ways that we can truly do this. Knowing the basics of government and reading the paper are the two ways which we, as citizens, can fulfill our duties.