Why don’t we participate in democracy?


Living in Washington State, particularly the Seattle area, I encounter a lot of people with liberal or somewhat progressive political views. But unfortunately, they aren’t very active in a political or community sense. They may go as far as a Facebook or Instagram post, expressing their displeasure with innocents being exploited across the country or world. But there is not a lot more than that. They don’t share educational material with each other, or participate in local government (or sometimes even elections).

When someone takes action beyond satisfying their basic human needs, it is usually because they see some incentive in it. People who rob the disadvantaged do it because it gets them stuff. People who give up time to mentor others do it based on some intrinsic motivator. Are there no motivators for being involved in politics, or do people miss them because they aren’t obvious enough?

I’m sure that some amount of apathy is attributable to the concept that people try to ignore a problem if it appears too big for them to fix. Plenty of people have given up on voting because they think everyone is so corrupt that it doesn’t matter. People have told me they “don’t do politics” and usually their reason for that has something to do with “everyone is bad choice” or “not participating is how I protest.” What does it take for someone to take interest in politics?

Does it just take too much time and effort to wrap your head around civics and politics? Are we all too busy trying to survive to have space for it? Do people need to feel more pain from the people in power before they want to change things? Or am I missing something? Perhaps the system has been rigged so hard, in so many ways, that the common person won’t be able to overcome in a lifetime. It’s too bad that won’t be an excuse when climate devastation reaches us.

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