Being Apolitical: A Conundrum
It seems like politics is the only topic we can have a conversation on these days because of how salient the political agenda is and how infiltrative and effective it is to an average person’s life. However, the question is, how do we have a conversation about politics? If you are just simply commenting on an objective change in your life resulting from some political action, does that qualify as being political? Do we have to be activists to call ourselves political? Being political, or apolitical for that matter, is a spectrum. Where different people fall on that spectrum is dependent on many factors that lead them onto their positions on that spectrum. However, in this article, let us dive into one edge of that spectrum, shall we?
When I say being apolitical, I do not mean being apolitical on social media. It is understandable that people are shocked that someone might choose not to showcase all aspects of their life on social media, but we need to remember that social media, although how much it is ingrained in our routines, is still not real life. So, an average person could do a bunch of political acts but still choose not to share them for various reasons, and they do not have to give an account of that to anybody, if that is not their job, of course. Being apolitical, at least in the context of this article, is described as someone actively choosing not to engage in or learn about any political circumstance around them. So, why is this lifestyle, contrary to its name, political?
When asked about why they choose to ignore politics, apolitical people’s responses are usually about how they maintain their peace that way or that politics is “boring.” Now, both these answers have one thing in common: privilege. Of course, not everything in life is %100 about politics. You can sometimes choose not to engage in politics to keep your mental health in check. Still, the people I’m talking about here are the ones who make that choice a life motto to live by, in which they constantly choose to ignore and not acknowledge anything political. Every time these people say something along the lines of “I just avoid politics, my life is easier that way.”, they affirm their belief that the world works in their favor, and that they block themselves from having to confront its realities and injustices. What people who use their privilege negatively do not understand or choose not to see is that this apolitical stance they take puts one more obstacle in the way of the oppressed and the unheard who are trying to make our world a just and livable one for all that is living in it, including them. If the cost of being apolitical is someone not having the right to vote, to have shelter, to have access to healthcare or education, or even have food to eat; it is too selfish and admittedly political to not even acknowledge the problems that innocent people, animals or the environment have to face every single day.
At the end of the day, we are all humans, and we need a break from intense politics from time to time. But, what I have tried to underline in this whole article is that apolitical people who claim to have nothing to do with politics all the time are the ones who actually feed the pitiless part of politics that malevolent people use for their evil actions. Therefore, being responsive, open-minded and sensitive to acknowledge the struggles that all living creatures go through every day, will not take away anyone’s peace or ruin their life; it will only make them a decent human being who has the ability to empathize. So, starting today, make the choice of not being apolitical and recognize your privilege, and use it to help others in need. Trust me, the world needs the aid that your birth-given privilege can provide.
by Şebnem YAREN