Many people say that staying out of the political spectrum makes sense for them. It is too much investment to want to step into an arena which though may have familiar issues, seems like too strong a stance to take. Many countries frown upon citizens being too political. Many countries have harsh measures for anyone criticising the government.
It is understandable that people perceive this as an enormous commitment, since it is not only them, but also their family that can be dragged into their public political life. Running for any public office means having to answer questions about yourself, and your family. If you have a history of divorce, your sexual preference, your relationship with your parents – everything must be answered to create a trustable relationship and image with your supporters. For example former US President Barack Obama’s father being Kenyan, or former Indian Governor Dr. Rajan possessing a green card – such things can often be used as ploys to question your entire integrity to your service.
Every element of your life is scrutinised and its morality is questioned, along with the honour for your organisation. It may not appear different from the movie stars, but the key difference is you may still pay to watch a movie of an artist you do not agree with, but as a public person it is harder to have that support.
So why should one yet want to be involved in any socio-political work?
Unfortunately that is not a question for people affected by politics. If your home is at risk from the Dakota Pipeline in the US, you would not be apolitical. If someone dear to you was lynched for “suspicion” of possessing beef in India, you would not be apolitical. If you were a homosexual (LGBTQ) in a country where it is illegal to be so, you would not be apolitical. If any of your rights were truly hampered, in a way that interrupted with your daily life, you would not be apolitical.
Not taking a stance is often a matter of privilege.
Does that mean everyone should run for elections, and politics is the only way? Of course not. The ways one can make a difference has no limit. Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this way’ often called the LGBTQ anthem gave much support to the community. Leonardo DiCaprio’s work on climate change is spreading awareness across the globe. Industries that support sustainable waste practises, or eco-friendly supply chains, most certainly create a huge impact on our planet, which is diametrically apposed to everybody that does not believe in climate change.
Even working in an organisation that supports the planet, and believes in equality for all can make a difference in your community. Not being afraid to take a stance can be difficult, and one must take their time to do so. However, just like taking a stance drags your whole family in that direction, being ignorant does the same. The lessons you pass on to your family, the conversations you have with your friends, or neighbours will all be informed with that knowledge of equality and justice that you believe in, and have taken the time to analyse. The growth of one individual to take an informed stance thus enriches a much larger community with a wholesome understanding, that having a well-informed idea of what the world should be is important – even if it may not be so at the moment.