Monday, August 07, 2006

Opinion: Politics and Apathy

Somehow in our society the word politics has become a dirty word. Worse then those 'four letter words' in use in daily life. There is a definite feel of apathy which runs through much of the society with the feeling 'I have enough to deal with in my own life'. This may be due to an oversaturation of the idea of democracy. We say yes we've been a democracy for over a hundred years and were better then other political systems because of it. Yet, in especially single member plurality countries such as the United States and Canada which have long been democracies voting rates in recent years are only in the 60 percentiles and the traditional discussion of politics at the family dinner table and within the home have lessened. To the point where people are told 'oh don't talk about that'. There is obviously a feeling that nothing really can be changed, that all major political parties are similar and, its fairly useless to try otherwise. That is not a functioning democracy.

The majority of people only tend to get involved when they feel they are being directly affected by the situation. Even though in reality all people are always being affected by politics in some form or another. But, unless the people consciously realize this and feel they can do some good nothing happens. Some examples are the famous water rights uprising in Cochabamba Bolivia, Gay rights activists working for the right to marry, or international Palestinian and Lebanese communities protesting the current war crimes by Israel (by international law what they are doing is war crimes). Yet, lets take the last example Arab communities for the past few years had fallen away from the anti-war movement, but with this latest offence either endangering the lives of or killing relatives has spurned the community to become active again.

There is one more major community though that becomes apathetic about politics, the activist community. I know that myself there are times when there is only such much that I can take. Being an informed activist allows you to see the overwhelming injustice in the world where you might not have known before. At times people will just have to break out of activism for a while for their own sanity. Social Psychologist say that those who most accurately view themselves are more likely to be depressed, I think this goes to viewing the world accurately as well. All communities need to work on their political apathy if we are to have any type of real functioning democracy.

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Blogger betmo said...

geez- you described what i am feeling to the letter. there is so much denial in this country and under informed people. top that with the willfully ignorant- and it is a recipe for burnout. the only things that have kept me sane for this long is knowing that i am fighting not just for the politics- but for my life. my country is under attack from the inside and in order to save it- i have to fight. the alternative is to move out and leave- to what end? my country is like a big octopus that has its tentacles all over the globe.

6:10 p.m.  

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