As a non-binary, bisexual, queer person, politics for me has always been a matter of life or death.


Yet, there are people who say things such as, “I don’t really care about politics;” “No, I don’t like politics;” and “I don’t really pay attention to politics.”


Whether you have said these yourself or you’ve known someone who has expressed a sentiment similar to those mentioned, political apathy is all too common in the United States. Put simply, political apathy is a lack of care or concern regarding politics, and it frequently leads to low voter turnouts.


As someone who is heavily involved in the political process and has continued to pursue those interests at the college-level, I am often surrounded by people who are uninterested and uninformed when it comes to politics. While these people may not participate in politics because they feel as if it doesn’t affect them or can’t justify taking the time to learn, there are many of us who feel an obligation to vote and to become involved in advocating for specific issues and candidates.


As I said, for me, politics is life or death. Life or death may seem dramatic. “C’mon, can you really feel that strongly about politics?” Absolutely, I can. And I do. As I’m saying this, I recognize, of course, that there is a place for every subject. I’d be remiss to ignore the importance of science, technology, engineering, math, English, and various other spheres.


To that, though, I add: who controls the funding that goes toward many programs whether they be art, science, or other areas? Who determines the laws necessary for ethical practices in medicine or science? Who determines rules and regulations for advances in technology and engineering? Who controls the education system at the country and state level? Who determines which streets are paved, which buildings are built, and whether a hospital gets the funding it needs? The list goes on, but the point is clear.


Government and politics reach into every possible aspect of public life one can imagine. However, for many people, it doesn’t stop there. For trans people, politics controls our bodies, whether we have the right to be ourselves or not. For others in the LGBTQ+ community, politics controls who we can marry, how we can express ourselves. For people of color, politics controls their everyday lives and how they can or can’t exist. For people with uteruses, politics controls what we can and can’t do with our bodies and whether we get a choice or not.


Politics is a matter of life and death. For people of all different communities, it’s not a matter of whether we care about politics or not, whether we vote or not, whether we decide to learn about candidates and issues. It’s a matter of voting for change, deciding which candidates to support, learning about every issue that touches humanity.


The next time you or someone around you starts talking about not caring about politics or saying that it doesn’t affect them, think for a second. Go out and vote. Use your voice. Help make a change for those who can’t afford to not think about politics. Politics matter, and voting matters. But above all, people matter.

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