Politics Is Personal!

Are you the type to sit down and listen to your president’s speech or the year’s financial budget? If you answered no, then you would most likely consider yourself a “non-political” person but actually you are.

We are all entangled in this web of politics, the only difference is that some of us choose to ignore it. And this is where the problem is; our inaction and complacency in not getting involved. We recently had a Student Government Forum on Saturday and the turnout was meager to say the least. I was part of those students who did not come out. The reason I did not go was because I was sleepy and I wanted to sleep in. Then yesterday I received the minutes from the Forum and I asked myself, how many people were actually going to download this PDF document and read it? I am guessing not a lot, but even further how many people were going to follow up on the minutes? How many people were going to be active participants of the political web?

More often than not we are not active political participants, we are passive participants. We know what is going on and we also to some degree understand what is going on but we rarely make a contribution. We rarely care enough because it does not affect us! But it does, because politics is the “activities aimed at improving someone’s status or increasing power within an organization.” So by virtue of existing in a certain community you are politically involved. The argument sometimes is “even if I do something nothing will change” but the truth is that participation is like slowly boiling the water with a frog inside. The frog will not feel the temperature rising until it is boiled to death. Likewise the political organisation will not feel as if anything is being done as you protest or write petitions until they realize that you have built a culture that breeds people who refuse to be docile in the face of dogma.

So to you the political minded person I say fight on, keep attending the forums, and the meetings, keep drafting the petitions. To you the “non-political” person I say start participating, even if it’s in a small way-open the email- and slowly start practicing a culture of “active participation.” The skills that one requires to become an active citizen are built and acquired over time, they do not just fall from the sky over night. School is place to help one practice these skills, school is a place that allows one to be more than just a blind follower or sheep. In the end if you get comfortable with being a sheep it’s hard to become a lion(active participant)!

Chairs Debate

In politics, words can be used as a weapon of mass destruction. They are not only used to convey ideas but to make personal statements about the leaders ready to take the population on to the next level, which has something to do with better conditions and a system that promotes democracy. With this being said, the above statement resonates the recent chairs debate.
The purpose of this was to put the potential chairmen and women on a platform where they could bite into each other’s ideas, learn from each other, defend their opinions and let the entire community hear what they have to offer the student government and ALA community. However, this particular debate was a reminder to everyone of how important it is to articulate yourself properly and fight for an idea in which you believe in, this was clearly shown when things got a little heated and the candidates started using powerful words to stand their ground and defend their ideas
It was rather interesting to see how the candidates were focused on changing systems and implementing new bodies into the government. This shows how far the student government in itself has come because now they have moved from being a complaint body and trying to make the students happy to implementing solid ideas and projects which will benefit the community at large.
One could argue that tensions were high and the extended 15 minutes which ran into prep only created more confusion amongst the students as now every candidate proved to be worthy of the role. However, it is through events such as this one where one realises the beauty of ALA. The fact that a bunch of teenagers can have a political standing on how they want their community to be has proven to not only harness the next generation of African leaders but also give them the platform to learn the art of having a political impact on your community.