Why Being Informed Matters

April 19, 2016

By Maggie Angel

Whenever someone asks me what my major is and I respond with international relations I always get a weird look accompanied by: “Oh, you want to go into politics? That’s boring.”

Besides being rude, this response illustrates a fundamental problem in this country: lack of civic engagement. We are extremely blessed to live in this country with the freedoms and opportunities we have. People risk their lives everyday for a shot of what we have. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it doesn’t mean we just sit around and complain.

There is still a lot of work left to do and it can only be accomplished if everyone works together, not just the powerful few continuing to dominate the system. People take their access to information for granted and become consumed by flashy pop culture, but it doesn’t mean that politics is irrelevant to our daily lives.

Now, more than ever, it is easier to be politically aware. Social media is the big thing these days. Just glancing at trending topics, you can get a glimpse of important events in the world like tensions in the Middle East and not just DJ Khaled’s Snapchat.

There are e-mail services like The Skimm that give you a quick update on the main headlines of the day. This may seem like a lazy way around reading the newspaper or watching the news, but the first step is to realize that we do not live in a bubble.

The world is becoming more interconnected and whatever happens in one country can affect another. It is more important now than ever before to be aware of the world around us.

We are college students who will graduate and be the leaders of our world. It is our duty and responsibility as adults to be well informed, vote and engage in conversation about the issues.

Our Dominican values of Caritas et Veritas are embodied in civic engagement. I took this opportunity to have my column serve as a way to encourage people to be informed. You do not have to major in political science (although you could) to be civically engaged. Just follow your passion; whether it is minimum wage, women’s rights, etc. There will always be a cause that is close to our hearts and being civically engaged is the best way to see real change.

As it is my last column, I want to include a special thank you to all the staff on the Dominican Star for being so welcoming and supportive of a novice writer. Without your encouragement to start the column, I would not have been able to see a whole new side to politics and journalism. Also shout out to those who read the column because you already are the first step to a politically aware society, the key to success.