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December 6, 2017 Mollie Finnegan 1Comment

Being for something is far more persuasive than being solely against. 

Today, while engaging in one of my favorite millennial activities, browsing social media, I came across one of my “friends” who had some strong words to share. She decided to point out how our government is essentially running our country full speed into the Earth and our doom is imminent. I was somewhat shocked because this is not one the activists I follow, or someone who I know to be very involved in politics, but rather someone I do not think I have ever seen engage in any political discussion, event, or campaign. It is not right for me to assume she is not interested in politics or does not follow along to current events, but it did make me think, why do people engage in politics only when they are angry?

Logically, many do not give much thought or discussion to something that is working. People feel motivated to speak on and demand change when they are angry or do not have what they want. This is no surprise in politics, with each party getting the chance to complain for 4-8 years while the other is in power. Today proved that even those who usually fill their virtual reality with pictures from their weekend shenanigans are capable of turning social media into a platform for their political disgust.

I think we should not only vocalize our disapproval, but we should be open to discussion at all times. Yes the reduction of national park may outrage you, but why not also have an opinion on the tax reform bill? Why not talk about the local city council race and how that will affect you way before acreage is decreased in the national parks? If we only engage in dialogue when we are angry, we will not be able to see when government is fulfilling its role, which is something we should be invested in. When something works, we tend to overlook it, because “yes, it is doing what it is meant to do.” How about we look at the success of projects and wonder how we can either translate that to other areas or how that outcome can be replicated in the future.

“People feel motivated to speak on and demand change when they are angry or do not have what they want.”

A crucial part of voting is holding politicians accountable by constantly assessing the job they are doing. If we only look for the corrupt or ineffective, we will miss those who are doing what they were elected to do. These “political role models” should be discussed, if not put into a lab and studied because of their rarity these days. Even those from across the aisle can, believe it or not, do some things that are beneficial, but if we are constantly looking to erupt on the enraging news, we will be blinded by that fury.

Another reason it is important to be involved when one is not angry, is because it shows that you know what you stand for. Being passionate for something is more meaningful than being fanatically against something. When you only react to news that is upsetting, you are a defensive voter and can rarely provide solutions to the issues at hand. It is beyond frustrating to watch Republicans, after taking control of the House, Senate, and Presidency not providing a solution to our health care nightmare. After witnessing eight years of politicians on the right rightly criticizing Obamacare and campaigning to end it, I have been stunned by the lack of a tangible alternative plan. How can we as voters be more proactive in our civic duties if our government also falls into the “following from behind” trend in terms of solving problems?

Politics is not always an interesting topic to discuss, and it requires a lot of work to make it through all of the garbage out there to find truth, but it should be something we constantly follow. One does not have to be a political scholar to understand what is going on, but we must not fall into the habit of only engaging in dialogue when we have steam coming out of our ears.  Reactive politics is full of emotion and oftentimes lacking in facts and unbiased analysis. To make conversation more informative, useful, and civil we need to start discussing all political issues, not just angrily responding to the recent trends on Twitter.

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  • TZ

    This country was founded by men who were airing their grievances. That is the essence of politics. I don’t think the original tea partyers would have been as motivated by the proposition “you know what, a democratic republic would be an improvement over a monarchy”. Most people I know refuse to discuss politics at all because of the inevitable and potentially unpleasant conflict that arises. But when they are aggrieved by some policy, they tend to engage more readily.

    Don’t think any appeal to reason will prevail. 28% of eligible voters went with Hill, 27% percent went with President Pussygrabber. Another 5% voted third party (maybe). 42% stayed home. It is only the people who care that get involved.