Some people don’t have the option to ‘not care about politics’

Some people don’t have the option to ‘not care about politics’

Some people don’t have the option to ‘not care about politics’
October 04
12:00 2018

They say there are three things you should not bring up in polite conversation: religion, money and politics. With the United States becoming more divided among political factions, politics is the surefire way to get into a heated debate around Thanksgiving dinner. According to Pew Research, Republicans and Democrats are more divided than ever in history — so much so that the percentage of Republicans who view the Democratic party as a threat to the nation, and vice versa, has risen dramatically since 1994.

I will be the first to admit I miss the ignorance that came with being a child, but our world is saturated with politics and it is inescapable. Even online, headlines read of the latest news from the White House and anonymous sources continue to release op-eds about the president and his subordinates.

Social media is constantly clouded with political news and I don’t blame those who suffer from fatigue. However, that does not excuse opting out of our political responsibilities. According to Pew Research, the most common reason for opting out of voting in the 2016 election was due to a dislike of candidates. Research from the government census and 2008 election also indicates 13 percent of voters felt their vote did not matter.

With both sides of the spectrum feuding more than ever, the population is also split in mindset. Left-leaning individuals tend to focus on social issues while right-wing individuals focus more on taxation and localized power.

Someone once told me the reason so much of the younger population tends to focus on social issues over financial ones stems from the absence of having our own families to provide for. At first glance, this sounds like a valid argument, but it disregards the percentage of millennials and Generation Z who identify as LGBTQ and are minorities — two groups that have no choice but to fixate on social issues that directly affect them. While it is true millennials are shifting away from marriage and waiting longer to have children compared to the baby boomer generation, 44 percent of millennials are a minority and 20 percent identify as LGBTQ — both more than any other generation before it.

This difference between generations highlights a major change in mindset and indicates why millennials are more left-leaning.

The problem with the argument of millennials’ stance on social versus financial issues is the insinuation that these social problems will decline in priority when the generation starts to form families, similar to Generation X and baby boomers.

The common factor between refusing to vote and assuming social problems will simply disappear with age is the privilege that comes with ignoring social issues. Those of us who are minorities, women, identify as LGBTQ or identify with non-Christian religions are directly affected by laws targeting these segmented groups. Refusing to vote can be detrimental to these communities, and assuming social issues are a concern to be “grown out of” erases the importance of these topics and degrades the opinions of the younger generations.

The murky political waters that cloud our social media feed and television screens can result in understandable fatigue, but this fatigue can result in neglecting our responsibilities as citizens. Regardless of annoying Facebook posts from your uncle or persistent campaign advertisements, I urge you to vote. Vote because it affects you so much more than you think.

 Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Christina Palomo

Christina Palomo

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1 Comment

  1. Allen
    Allen October 13, 23:46

    Nothing like firing up the base with fear tactics. This is part of the reason that people are jaded with politics. I was agreeing with you until you started with the identity politics. The rights focus is not localized power. It is personal value, personal integrity, personal responsibility, cutting down on crime meaning crime is crime no matter who the victim is, and finally advancing the idea that we can and will regain our status as the worlds leader in enhancing people of the world’s lives again

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