By Brianna Williams, News Editor–
Over the past few months, I’ve been actively trying to become better informed on politics—studying more closely than ever before what our current President is discussing, reading into the Democratic candidates, staying on top of voting information and getting to the polls early to make a well-informed vote based on my research. Some reading this may consider everything I just mentioned simply covering the bare minimum of civic engagement, while others may think that politics is unnecessary and too vast to try to understand; I can appreciate both sides. That being said, I am taking the aforementioned steps in order to better myself and reach a point where I feel like I am an engaged citizen and active member of our democracy.
I have never been completely ignorant about politics—previously, when others have brought up political discussions, I’ve been able to listen and understand what’s going on. I’ve never been confident enough in my knowledge, however, to contribute in any significant way to these conversations (I often dislike placing myself into controversial discussions anyway). But frankly, I’ve found the world of politics extremely overwhelming. I never learned much about the subject in school, and most people in high school held the same political opinions that I do, so politics were never a hotly debated or discussed.
A couple of months ago, I decided to make a conscious effort to take small steps to becoming more politically informed so that I could be a better-informed voter. Whether it be reading an increased amount of political news, watching parts of the democratic debates, or inserting myself into more political conversations, I’ve made small steps to grow. So far, these efforts have made me a much more confident voter—as opposed to my feelings during the 2018 Congressional midterm elections—and journalist (previously, I felt a sense of guilt for working in the news and being less than keen about keeping track of politics).
Besides these benefits, it just feels better to know that you are informed about what is going on between the leaders of your city, state, and country. For those that feel as I did in the past—overwhelmed by the mere idea of politics—I would suggest making small efforts to inform yourself (whatever that may be for you personally), and assure you that you don’t have to know or understand everything going on everywhere to engage in politics. So whatever step you may want to take—reading more of the news, voting in primary (and local!) elections, reading up on a comment you saw on Twitter, so on and so forth—I encourage you to take it and continue to make those small steps at your own pace (I’ll be doing the same).