Editor's note: Sources updated as of May 2019
As an American Government Instructor at UA Grantham , I’m often asked by others, “Why should I be interested in politics and government?”
As someone who has spent many years studying and writing on the subject, I recognize that, to some, it's not the most glamorous of subjects.
Combine this “boring factor” with the ongoing climate of cynicism, controversial topics and combative media attention regarding government, and you have a population which is generally disengaged.
While I understand why some might be apathetic toward this subject, I’d like to share three reasons why people should be interested in politics and government.
#1. Government and politics impacts nearly every aspect of our lives.
Whether we like it or not, government plays a huge role in our daily lives, ranging from the amount of tax you pay for your morning coffee, to the types of light bulbs you’re allowed to purchase.
Since we know that government impacts various choices we make, why not take the time to understand how the process works? Who makes these laws and how do they impact me?
Having this understanding can help you determine the best course of action for yourself and your family, regarding a wide range of issues. (Most of which are more important than your coffee and light bulbs.)
#2. Having knowledge of politics helps make you an informed voter.
It’s a well known fact that many Americans don’t vote. In fact, a recent PBS news article found than even though the polls received record voter turnout during the 2016 presidential election, these totals still only amounted to 58% of eligible voters.1
For those who do vote, I believe it’s important to go to the polls armed with the facts. Whether you’re voting for President or voting on a local ballot initiative, having the facts helps you make an informed decision on the issues.
This isn’t to say that it's necessary to read every newspaper article about an issue or watch every television interview with a candidate, but doing some independents research can give you peace of mind that you’ve done your homework prior to casting your ballot.
#3. Politics is entertaining.
While it might not be as entertaining as going out with your friends on a Friday night, politics can be quite fun. A good example of this is elections. My first memory of “exciting” politics was the recount of 2000.
I was in Junior High, and I recall being fascinated by the process. Elections come with everything from the drama of campaigns prospering and collapsing, to watching various “negative” campaign ads.
Being a spectator of it can be exciting. Is my candidate ahead in the polls? What was their latest blunder? Just think, this fun only occurs during election season. However, vigorous debates with friends and family about the current hot-button political issues can occur any time! Also, who doesn’t like a good political scandal.
While I don’t expect everyone to rush out and become members of the American Political Science Association, consider taking time this year to look up from the busyness of life and take stock of what’s going on around you!
We want to know: Do you pay attention to politics?
Share with us on our social media channels!
As a military friendly online degree college, we respect the sacrifices our service members make for our country. Learn more about using your military experience to earn college credit, Heroes Program special military rates, and more.