We should not be frightened away, or put off, by politics. But first we must be clear about what we mean when we use the word.
“Politics” means how groups of people organise themselves and come to decisions democratically. (Not to be confused with party politics which is about pushing a particular agenda.)
What is meant by democracy is not just who gets the most votes wins. That’s not what democracy means. Democracy means reaching decisions consensually and keeping as many people happy as possible. Voting is a last resort and part of the democratic process, not the be all and end all of how decisions are made.
Politics has also come to mean a stick to hit people over the head with, something that is either left or right, a term of abuse used by lazy or ideological driven people. All with good reason because the last thing people who wish to make decisions for us want is – that the public, may get the idea that they are perfectly capable of making these decisions for themselves.
Our kids are growing up to believe politics are boring – a very strange and dangerous idea and not one we should want to see in a healthy democratic society. Another sign of failing democracy is when governments themselves, attempt to educate the public in citizenship, political engagement, and what society should look like. A sure sign we are in trouble.
“Politics is trivia. Anyone can understand it. We may have to do a bit of study and research here and there but on the whole politics is straight forward. The experts who want to speak on our behalf want us to think otherwise.
So when we hear in our communities: “I am not into politics” “That’s to political!” “What’s politics got to do with it?” and such like. Thats is a big part of the work we have to do. The verb politics needs to be take back from the experts, the professionals and those who would deny a political voice to ordinary people.