Don’t just sit there! Get involved!

Lisa
HEAD COPY EDITOR

At the beginning of the Election cycle, I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know who Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders were. I recognized Hillary Clinton only because she is married to Bill Clinton. I didn’t know any of the candidates or what they stood for and believed in. I didn’t partake in politics because I detest it. However, as soon as it became apparent to me that Donald Trump was being taken seriously despite his racist, sexist, rude, and bigoted rhetoric, I knew I had to educate myself and get out there and vote.

Though the Election ended a few weeks ago, now is not the time to disengage. No matter who you votedfor, or even if you didn’t vote at all, it is important that you continue to becomepolitically active and be aware of what is going on in U.S. politics if you aren’t already. Though I do not like politics in the least, I believe that it is imperative that we educate ourselves on what is going on in our country. By ignoring politics, we allow bigotry to run rampant and we ourselves to be ignorant to the corruption around us.

One thing to look out for is false headlines and distorted ideas in articles. Many people will share news articles and memes on social media based on headlines and biased content, and many more will believe them and pass them on. As an example, The Huffington Post posted an article titled “Bernie Sanders Could Replace President Trump With Little-Known Loophole.”

Those who do not read the article will not receive The Huffington Post’s warning. The article states, “There will be many people who clicked share on this post because of its headline. They may not even click to open the story. They will never actually read these words. Ironically, these are the folks who need to hear it the most.”

Read the full article before sharing. And check out articles from credible news outlets. Buzzfeed and memes are not going to help educate you. While they are fun and easily visible on social media every day, they are not always true. 

A meme went around on Facebook a while ago, in which a young Donald Trump supposedly said in People Magazine in 1998, “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.” It was shared by many people; however, it turns out that with a simple Google search, that quote is untrue. Factcheck.org even “scoured the People Magazine archives and found nothing like this quote in 1998 or any other year.” 

Published articles and news segments from credible news sources are more reliable than memes and Buzzfeed. Pick up a newspaper, search for what’s current on the internet, or turn on the T.V. Even then, it is important to read more than just one article on any given subject, to fact check often, and not just follow mainstream media outlets but also independent media outlets, like The Young Turks.

A more entertaining way to stay up-to-date on America’s current events is to watch political talk shows. Though some may be biased, the political commentators on these talk shows will discuss what is going on in America and keep youinformed on the most important events. Some of my favorite political talk shows to watch are Real Time with Bill Maher, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which are all also available on YouTube.

In addition, if you really want to understand politics, pick up a book on it. I would recommend beginning with the works of Plato and Aristotle, which both denounce democracy as one of the worst types of government because democracy is usually run by ignorant people. From there, read up on the history of American politics. I recently bought a book from the Wardman Library used book sale on the history of political thought.

Don’t stop there. Listen to Donald Trump’s speeches and read up on his policies, as painful as that may be. Educating yourself on politics also means educating yourself on the president-elect. Just because Trump won the Election does not mean you can go cry or party (depending on who you voted for) and be done with politics. 

When the next Election comes around, get involved and learn everything you can about the candidates so that you can make the most well-informed decision. In the meantime, if you are an American citizen, some of the things you can do now is vote in local and state elections; participate in a political discussion; sign petitions; write letters to elected representatives; lobby for laws that are of special interest; and demonstrate through marches, boycotts, sit-ins, or other forms of protest, according to civiced.org’s “How Can Citizens Participate?”

It is so essential for us to educate ourselves on the political affairs of America because this is our country. We should know what is happening around us instead of being mindless robots and accepting everything. As the Millennials, we are the most college-educated generation and we are the future of America. As such, we need to become aware of American politics so that we can move forward and make the best decisions for our future and the future of the next generation.