There’s a lot of people who ‘don’t do politics’ or don’t discuss it. Next to religion it’s probably the topic that will most quickly alienate people, lose you friends or tear a family apart. So we don’t talk about it, don’t discuss it, don’t examine it. It’s both boring and fractious.
We need debate though. We need to be an educated populace and we need to be involved in the political process – by one means or another – or you’re ceding control to a relatively small group of partisan wankers who can be bothered to vote and the people who vote tribalistically. Something none of us should do.
Yes, politics is boring, but it’s the process we have to go through in order to do great and important things.
Science has done many great things, but you don’t just wake up one morning and invent the laser, the silicon chip or penicillin. There’s a combination of good fortune, will, investment and hard graft that leads up to the worthwhile and edifying result.
So it is with politics. With investment, graft, pressure and hard work it is possible to wring positive change from the political process. This does not happen overnight. You need to campaign, protest, communicate with your political class, organise to counter the vested interests and the power of money. With sufficient hard work and graft you can blunt the worst evils and excesses and even make changes such as the NHS, human rights legislation, an end to bigotry enshrined in law.
It means you, every single one of you who wields a vote, needs to do the job of being informed and applying that informed decision making to who you vote for and, indeed, if you vote at all or apply your political strength by other means.
In the US and the UK voters have been particularly ‘meh’ lately and it’s understandable why. Parties have become rather grey with little differentiating them. Even if you determine to vote for ‘the lesser evil’ it’s harder to tell who that is. Opportunities to get voting reform in the UK met with a huge shrug from a poorly informed and soft-soaped electorate and even Lords reform is off the table. Political systems in both countries twist and even ignore the popular vote and favour the wealthy and vested interests.
This is all the more reason to get involved. Not less.
The process of politics is boring, but the end results can be wonderful – or horrifying.