Becoming More Politically Mindful
by Max Greenhalgh
In today’s times, more and more kids are stepping up to the national stage to make an impact politically. In particular, some students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have made appearances on mainstream networks such as CNN to discuss their political views and how surviving a mass shooting has changed their perspectives on the world. Even if you disagree with these students’ political views, it is hard to argue that young people becoming more and more invested in the domestic and international political landscapes is an inherently bad thing, especially in a nation where about 20% of eligible citizens aren’t even registered to vote. For those of you hoping to jump into the terrifying world of politics, here are a few suggestions in getting started:
Figure Out What You Stand For: To get started, figure out what you stand for, above all else. If there is a category of news article or type of news coverage that tends to draw you in, take note of that. If the debate around a certain issue interests you, take note of that. If you have experienced something in your life that makes you want to advocate for the interests of a certain group or policy, take note of that. When it comes to politics, the best place to start is where you are most interested in or familiar with, as no one can become an expert in all issues overnight.
Take The Fun Quizzes: No, I’m not referring to the online quizzes that will finally tell you what kind of bread you are after answering ten simple questions. There are numerous interesting political tests that can help you figure out where you are ideologically compared to the rest of the political spectrum. Some of the best are the ISideWith test, the Political Compass test, and the 8values test. In addition to being useful, it’s also fun to deliberate over each question (at least, it is for Pulse Magazine’s resident politics nerd).
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone: It’s easy to form all of your political opinions without much thought by just picking up ideas that seem right to you. However, it is always good to get a taste of what the other side of the argument on a particular issue has to offer. If you are a generally liberal person, I’d recommend reading some National Review articles to get a look at what moderate conservatives advocate for, and going through Daily Wire articles if you are looking to get a better understanding of a more traditional conservative’s perspective. For those who lean conservative, try out The Daily Beast or BuzzFeed News (I understand the negative connotation associated with BuzzFeed, but its news wing is actually quite fact-focused for the most part). Knowing that your political adversaries aren’t all evil demons sent to destroy everything good in the world is important for improving our national dialogue, and you might even pick up a political position or two from the other side of things.
image credits to http://jolanamalkston.com/