By Henry Adams
Political discourse can be hard to understand, especially in today’s world, where problems and concepts such as immigration, relations between the U.S. and North Korea, and even the erecting of a park in your town all seem to be more complex than at face value. How do we understand the political terminology laid before us? When it comes to solving political problems, here are some things you can use to help you wade through these complicated issues.
1: What are political positions?
A political position is what your beliefs usually correlate with. For example, in the United States, we have political parties. The two most popular parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, but that still leave many wondering “who do I side with?” In order to answer that, you need to decide which political party solves problems the way you want them to be solved. I also suggest you take the Political Compass test to see where you align.
2: What is the difference between local, national, and geopolitical happenings?
The differences between local, national and geopolitics can be hard to understand at first, however they are very simple in context. Local politics is what happens within your state or even town or city. Local politics usually deals with smaller issues on a state level, such as building parks and funding schools. National politics is what happens within a country or nation, such as border policy, federal taxes/laws, firearms regulations, etc. Geopolitics is what is going on in other parts of the globe, such as war, countries’ relationships, groups such as NATO, etc.
3: How do I know what I am reading is real news?
Fake news is an epidemic in today’s society even to a point where fact-checking sites such as Snopes are pushing false narratives, such as in the case with its fact-checking of the $6 billion in government contracts that went missing while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Apparently, according to Snopes, “unaccounted for” doesn’t mean the same as “missing.” So how do you beat fake news? Don’t rely on the news; do your own research and watch full unedited recordings of speeches and events to understand a topic before you support it.
4: How does politics affect me?
Politics affects us every day, from how much we pay in taxes to what is and isn’t banned. Politics has equally good and bad effects on our everyday life. The 18th Amendment banning alcohol, for example, was passed in 1919 and was repealed in 1933. Amendments are similar to laws, but make changes to the Constitution. The American people rebelled against the amendment through bootlegging and speakeasies. It was so unpopular that it was repealed by the 21st Amendment, making it the only amendment to have ever been repealed to date.
5: Why should I listen to the opposition?
Even though some peoples’ ideas may seem immoral or wrong, that isn’t grounds to alienate them, unless they have alienated you first. There is a reason for everything. People’s beliefs don’t come from thin air, and there has to be something that caused them such as statistics, news, and even their own logic. In politics today, we seem to have lost the ability to debate and disagree without anger. But taking the time to understand a point of view different from your own may either open your eyes to new ideas or strengthen your arguments for your current beliefs.