A Short Introduction to Understanding Politics

Why is it important to understand politics even though this realm might not be of particular interest to someone?

First, political knowledge contributes to more solid and even harmonious political behavior; it helps citizens make decisions that are associated with their personal system of beliefs and preferences, motivates political participation, and facilitates trust in the political system (Galston, 2001).

Secondly, when we talk about politics, we must remember that politics is not entirely what we see in the news, as social media has its own purpose of distorting the truth (I will discuss this topic in a different post). Looking at its noble meaning, we see that politics = is the art of governing a human community; art means a technique (Preda, 2019, p.17).

Thirdly, politics help you understand your rights, it can clarify your beliefs, and help you see part of your identity; it might give you the right tools to make a difference (instead of complaining about the system), and it also allows you to express your opinions that later on might benefit the society if you dare to fight for what you believe in.

When we talk about politics, we discuss the realm or arena in which visions, action programs, or direct actions are confronted, in which they compete (Preda, 2019, p.25). So, don’t be surprised to see parties fighting or people disagreeing on different topics; it is normal. We all have opposing points of view, and it is alright. Still, it is not appropriate to hate someone just because that person has a contrasting political view of yours. Nor is it wise to start arguing about it. The idea is to accept someone’s system of political beliefs because we must remember how unique each of us is. Of course, we can debate, talk and even try to persuade someone, but everything must be done peacefully and grown up.

Having said all that, one question remains: is political participation important?

Yes, it is. When we talk about political participation, we refer to a person’s activities undertaken voluntarily to influence authoritative or generally binding regulations and decisions related to the political system (van Deth, 2014). So, if we can, why shouldn’t we?

You might say: ”Well, nobody wants to hear what I have to say.” That is a false statement. Maybe you can’t go directly to the City Hall to talk about the issues that are bothering you, but you can make a change in your neighborhood, home, work, or church. These small changes matter a lot, trust me. You can never know how your words might shape someone’s life or point of view. The changes we need to make might not be the ones we believe. Small and big can always have non-identical meanings of what we think.

To sum up, politics affects our daily lives in ways we have never thought of. It is imperative to understand politics because, through it, one can understand the laws governing all business functions. Politics help you know the world you live in. It equips you with an understanding of why certain things work the way they do and what you can do to change things.

We can’t talk about companies, shops, churches, or even families without thinking about politics. All societal structures must obey specific laws and work according to political actors’ rules. Those political actors have the role and obligation to represent a citizen’s needs and requests and be their voice. Bear in mind that when we talk about a political actor we also mean the political structure itself not only the person.

Remember, politics is not what you see on TV: politicians fighting, lying, being unaware of politics’ role and tools, careless and corrupted. Unfortunately, they are just the result of selfish ambitions and a lack of knowledge of politics. The antique philosophy said about politics that its primary purpose is finding the common good (Preda, 2019). Some people understand that and fight the good fight while others don’t. This mustn’t discourage you and make you hate the person or institute. Instead, remember this brief introduction and try to see it differently.


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