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HUGHES: Political complacency helps no one

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HUGHES: Political complacency helps no one

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio

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I’m angry a lot. I don’t mean that I’m an angry person — I laugh, I have fun and I’m more optimistic than most might suspect, but I get angry. I climb onto my high horse and look with indignant disdain upon all I perceive as wrong with society. And while I don’t apologize for it, this anger tends to turn people off. They are quick to interject, saying, “I don’t really care about politics.”

Maybe it’s not the anger that turns people off, but rather the eye roll that follows when they tell me this. But I can’t help it, it’s involuntary.

I understand why people might feel disenfranchised, but this disregard for politics is why our most recent election was so divisive. People have stopped caring about policy.

I get it, politics aren’t usually a fun topic. The world can be gruesome and frightening, it’s depressing to acknowledge not everything is peaches and cream all the time, but important topics are rarely comfortable.

I’m not accusing anybody of not caring about what’s going on with the world, and I doubt many people are truly apathetic toward such turmoil, but why aren’t we talking about it then? These are difficult conversations to have, especially when it’s so likely they’ll result in disagreement, but they need to be had regardless.

It’s human to be afraid. I would rather live among nervousness than apathy, it’s how we apply our anxieties that makes the impact. It’s normal and appropriate to feel helpless in the face of all that’s going wrong, but it’s not OK to resort to a child-like indifference and ignore the problems. Your personal ability to effect change should not determine your desire to. Being complacent toward these issues is an insult to the people dealing with them every day.

I’m not asking people to make drastic alterations to their lives. You don’t need to become a policy scholar or join the Peace Corps. You just need to care.

Still, what good is caring if you can’t see any tangible benefit? So, what can you do RIGHT NOW to see some change? Here are some ideas:

-Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters or other youth outreach programs.

-Donate food, money or time to food pantries or other poverty outreach programs.

-If you’re religious, ask your religious leadership what opportunities exist in your community.

-Recycle.

-Donate your old stuff.

-Ride your bike to work.

-Talk about what’s going on, learn and listen.

Have the difficult conversations. Pick up a newspaper. Be uncomfortable for a little while.

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