(c) by Mary Griggs

haring see no evilEver go on a political rant, only to be told by a listener that they don’t pay attention to politics? Or talked about a candidate or upcoming election and had someone tell you they don’t vote?

In my opinion, “I don’t pay attention to politics” is one of the most ignorant statements a person can make. I believe political illiteracy leads to the destruction of democracy even more surely than voter suppression.

Unfortunately for our country, political non-participation is rampant: while 123 million people voted in November 2012, 93 million eligible people did not. The reasons might be varied but those who failed to do so are guilty of dereliction of duty to our nation.

Politics doesn’t only refer to politicians. Politics also means the issues – foreign affairs, human rights, taxes, immigration, the environment, etc. Decisions about these sort of things don’t just happen on election day. Every day across the nation and in the Capital, bills get passed that benefit a minority of Americans because the majority of eligible voters either have been misled or are silent.

Our Republic depends on people having at least some engagement in the system. We need to educate ourselves about the issues and how they affect us. We must question the voices of power that try to influence our votes. We have a right to know which legislators favor campaign contributors over constituents. We have a duty to monitor and hold accountable those in power for what they do in our names.

When the only people involved in politics are the radicalized, you get a situation like we’re currently in where the House is taken over by ideologues whose opinions are clearly not shared by a majority of citizens.

Politics is important, y’all. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”