Stop Claiming that You're "Not Political"

I’ve heard it countless times, and I’m sure you have too. When politics come up in conversation and everyone is voicing their opinion, there is always at least one person who opts out by claiming that they’re just not political. People think this is an easy exit pass from the conversation so they can avoid getting judged for their politics. In the 2016 election, 41.6% of eligible voters didn’t vote, many because they used the claim of not being political. We are currently experiencing the repercussions of that election, and many have stopped claiming their political stance because they’ve realized the damage that could have been avoided. However, plenty continue to use this excuse as a scapegoat – here’s why that’s problematic.

The ability to claim that you just don’t care about politics – that’s a privilege. Not everyone has the choice to “not care”; when it affects your life, you must be engaged. As the famous Desmond Tutu stated, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. If you claim that you prefer to stay out of politics, you are doing nothing to condemn all the injustices that are occurring in your own backyard, and you are allowing for it to happen. Secondly, this claim is problematic because it is a fallacy. Nearly everything you do is political, whether you realize or not. When you shop, you are engaging in a political act because of who you are giving your money to. Do these companies engage in unethical practices? Do they pay their employees enough? Who’s making their products?

Consuming media is a political act, picking what college to go to is a political act, the manner in which you commute to work, or school is a political act – infrastructure doesn’t just appear out of thin air! The conversations you have on a daily basis are political; what is important enough for you to talk about? Everything is political. To say you are not political is to say you care about nothing but things that affect you, but I give you more credit than that. I believe everyone has the ability to empathize. Another thing is that, often, these marginalized communities that are being directly affected by the politics you claim not to care about need allies to help elevate their voices. If you are in a position where certain politics are not affecting you, you should be using your privilege in that situation to elevate the voices of those who are being affected. None of us exist in isolation, everything we do affects someone else, and we need to hold ourselves accountable. The reality of the world we live in is that there are social inequalities that affect marginalized people every day, and to say you are not political is to say you prefer to be complacent in your naivety. If you don’t want to acknowledge politics, you don’t want to acknowledge all the marginalized people who are affected by them. How can you see all the terrible injustices occurring every single day and not care? How can you not want better for these people, for humanity? If you can sincerely say that the status of not just the United States, but the world, doesn’t anger you, you are not paying attention. Pay attention. Be angry. There is no way out of politics, so educate yourself and find what beliefs you have and stand up for them. Stop claiming you’re not political, you’re better than that.

HCXO,

Sophia