Growing up in a life of great privilege, I’ve always thought that the world of politics was a faraway abstract concept. It always seemed like a world reserved for grownups, mostly middle-aged men in suits. As an adult, I know that could not be further from the truth. Political undertones are prevalent in every aspect of our lives, whether that involves having contingency plans for gossiping aunties or to be aware of the events taking place in your city and the reasoning behind them. Therefore, it is our responsibility to become more knowledgable regarding these matters. But how do we go about it?
Our humble journey begins with one big realisation: politics affects us all, no matter how much we may try to distance ourselves from it. The second realisation kicks in when you realise that you have no idea how any of this works, and whenever you attempt to find videos related to questions you may have, you are met with men who talk about lobster hierarchies and how facts don’t care about your feelings. Naturally, it can get a bit daunting.
The next step would be learning from memes instead of reading actual theory. For some of us, reading seems like a strenuous task, given how busy our lives have gotten in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, we have highly elaborate and incredibly specific memes at our fingers. You can be mindlessly scrolling through social media apps when you stumble across a meme that has a lot of big words. This tempts you to Google the words and figure out the contextual implications of said meme. You conduct your little research ruse and then finally, you have your eureka moment. You guffaw with an air of superiority and go to the meme page to stimulate your mind and to learn new things about how the world is ruled by capitalistic, reptilian overlords.
However, there also comes a time when you realise that relying on memes for educational purposes may not be as good of an idea as you thought it would be. But it’s okay. To err is human. In order to rectify the possible meme-induced damages, you give reading another try. Now the only question is, what should you read? Suddenly, you are flung into a world of reading recommendations and very questionable comments in book reviews, left by extremists from all parties. Inevitably, a senior from your school who was notorious for being a bit odd will, without fail, mention a lot of books peppered in their monologues about capitalism being necessary.
This may be a good time to find a mentor, so to speak. The Professor Oak in your adventure to fight off people who share videos titled with “[insert name of hip and trendy philosopher here] DEFEATS THE FEMINIST NARRATIVE” and to become the very best, like no one ever was unless you help others become educated, too. Alas, finding a mentor is also a difficult task as it’s difficult to understand a person’s true ideologies unless you see them partake in an argument on Facebook. With regards to that, the noteworthy thing to remember would be that there is no one, singular mentor. Everyone can give something to contribute in the pursuit of knowledge. Additionally, talking to people with widely varying opinions will promote critical thinking. No longer confined in your own bubble, filled with like-minded individuals, you emerge as a left-leaning caterpillar that is eager to learn as much as it can.
If you can make it past these obstacles, do your own research, manage to gain some knowledge from books, memes, other forms of media, and talk to people with different perspectives for more insight, then you’re golden. You have now properly laid the groundwork for becoming educated in politics and you will continue to build upon it for the remainder of your life. If that’s not the case, just knowing that capitalism will kill Mother Earth and will result in our collective demise should suffice.
Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at firstname.lastname@example.org