Why Should I Care About Politics?

When people hear that one of my majors in college was political science, I get “Oh, I’m not interested in that stuff. It’s just a bunch of people fighting about stuff that doesn’t impact me at all.” I smile and nod, or shrug, because I get it. I was there, too.

It wasn’t until my American Government class freshman year that I became interested. It fulfilled a general education requirement, it had an Honors section to fulfill the requirements for the Honors program, and my roommate was taking it. Dr. Edward Yager taught the course. I fell in love. I quickly added it as my second major, and it all went from there.

The first thing that I learned was that politics affects everyone. It touches everything in our lives. This was the same fact that I told every person who skeptically, condescendingly, asked why I was studying English. Politics was why the roof of my urban high school leaked when it rained. Politics was why gas prices were soaring. Politics was why tuition was so dang expensive. Politics was why. Politics was. I had to learn as much as I could about this thing, this entity, this institution that touched every corner of my life. I had to know.

The more I learned, the more I realized I could do something about all the stuff that made me go “What the fuck? Seriously?” when I heard about it. This was a pivotal  moment. I was no longer a leaf in a stream, getting swept along in whatever direction the current took me. I was a part of the stream itself. I could either be passive, and let all the other molecules of water move and shake, or I could move and shake myself, become part of the energy that moves the stream.

After learning that I wasn’t a leaf, I wasn’t about to be some passive molecule. The energy, the excitement, and the passion of my professors and classmates stirred me into action as well. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

What was seen, couldn’t be unseen. What was learned, couldn’t be unlearned.

I joined student government. I jumped into the feminist blogosphere that I’d been lurking in. I got involved in state-level politics. Local movements. Online movements. I began to write. Global movements. National movements. Protests. Petitions. Writing to my Senators, my representatives. Writing to Senators and representatives that didn’t even represent me. Boycotts. Rallies. Lobbying. Writing to the paper. Interviews.

What’s next? I have no idea. This thing, this entity, this institution we call politics will continue to touch every corner of my life. It always will—so I’ll always be moving.