How I Became Politically Active

I was the student in high school who was oblivious to politics and current events. If it wasn’t in my curriculum, why should I worry about it? I now understand the problem with that thought process but that’s a whole different argument to be had. I vividly remember watching Obama’s presidential inauguration of 2008 in my 4th-grade classroom — but that’s the last memory I have of myself paying attention to politics.

Then junior year of high school began and so did Trump’s election campaign for 2016. I remember sitting in my American History class and my teacher updating us now and then about the shifting political climate, but I still barely paid attention. I was never actually taught anything about how the American political party system works or how elections truly affect everyday lives — again, that is a totally different conversation that could be talked about.

Suddenly though, more and more students started to talk about political events happening throughout senior year — blame it on us getting older, the media, or the climate of the election — my classmates started to care and so did I.

So I started to listen to speeches given at rallies and primaries, and I started to understand my own views on issues apart from the political views of my family members. I started to become politically active the second I started paying attention to events that were happening outside of my local vicinity. No longer was I just concerned about the terrible road conditions of the less fortunate side of my town, but I became concerned about larger problems that citizens were facing all over the world — whether the concern is famine, gentrification, or political unrest, the news of the world enthralled me.

The problem was no longer that I was ignorant of issues, but that I felt useless in helping create solutions. I believe going into my freshman year of college with Trump as president was the reason I really started to get involved with activism. Had Trump not been elected, I’m not sure how or when I would’ve learned to care about politics as much as I do now.

So I started to talk. I started to ask questions about anything and everything someone brought up that was even remotely political. The more questions I asked the more views I obtained and the more knowledgeable I became about the everyday news.

By the end of my freshman year, I felt confident enough to have an adult political conversation. When my dad picked me up for summer break we spent the whole 5-hour car ride home discussing issues of the everyday world. Throughout summer I kept up with news and made sure to inform my friends about what was going on around the world.

At the start of sophomore year, my roommate introduced me to The Daily. The Daily is a half hour podcast that is available for streaming every weekday at 6 am on current events news via The New York Times. I started to religiously listen to this podcast during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing that took place earlier this month. Even after his confirmation, I continued to listen to The Daily because it’s a great source of news that is timed perfectly for my walk to classes!

I also signed up for daily newsletters that give me quick updates and summaries on world news in the morning. If I want to look further into something they even give me a bunch of sources they used to create the newsletter so I can get the full story! Just a few of them that I know of are TheSkimm, NextDraft, and Need2Know!

I think the biggest way I became politically active was registering to vote! For the longest time, I didn’t believe that my vote could make a difference. But the more I started to understand the American political system, I understood just how much one vote does count. You can register to vote here!

Never underestimate the power you have in making a difference. Whether it be attending a March For Our Lives event, a Black Lives Matter talk, joining a Sustainability club on your campus, staying up to date on news via podcasts, liking political pages on Facebook, or just talking to people, it has become incredibly easy to start conversations on what you believe in. If you have no idea where to even begin, just start reading articles upon articles from credible sources and watching a few YouTube videos for visuals about how the American Government System works.

 

Don’t let older generations silence your voice because young adults are not stupid -- we are the future of the world. Almost every great activist movement has started with the youth, just give it a quick google search.

 

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