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when did you first become interested in politics and why?


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bare_trees

Inspired by my other thread about disinterest in politics, I'm wondering when/why those who are interested in politics (to whatever degree) became interested.

 

I was a kid when I started thinking about political matters.  When I first heard about the death penalty and was told it was a legal form of punishment, I immediately thought it was insane--the idea that killing someone else would right the wrong that was committed, though I didn't have the words to describe the way I felt and kind of parroted things I read.  I remember I had an anti-death penalty t-shirt and my teachers at school looked at me funny, though one of them told me she respected the fact that I was thinking about important issues at 11 or whatever it was.  When I found out that gay people couldn't get married, that was another one that got a strong reaction from me because it didn't make any sense and seemed unnecessarily mean.  So whenever I would hear adults talk about candidates for office, I would ask, "Are they going to make gay marriage legal?"  and "Are they going to make the death penalty illegal?"  And everyone would just kind of chuckle because of course they would do neither.  At some point in middle school, I found out about abortion and became obsessed with being "pro-life," which my mom was quick to tell me contradicted my other views.  I learned not to talk about my pro-life ideas around certain people just as I started to learn not to talk about gay marriage or my anti-death penalty views in front of others.  It took years for me to slowly change my mind on the abortion issue.  All of this led to me being a huge Ralph Nader fan in high school, before I could legally vote.  He seemed to care about two of my big issues, and I was willing to overlook the fact that he wasn't "pro-life."  And anyway, we all know how that turned out.  That was the beginning of my disillusionment that continues to this day.

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Milque Toast

I'd say I was pretty "apolitical" when I was younger, but generally had left leaning views due to my family's views. But now? I've changed drastically, I wouldn't say I really have an "interest" in politics, but I keep up on these things for multiple reasons.

 

1) I was always insecure about not being aware on current events, and not being able to discuss what others were talking about.

2) It made, and makes me feel important and good about myself to have an actual opinion on different things, rather than shrugging when people ask about my political leanings. (kinda linked to the first one)

3) A huge one was my older sibling who has gotten very invested in politics around last year. It was mainly through Hasan Piker, who I watch now too because of them. I very often agree with his views, plus I just generally find him a pretty fun guy.

 

and now, it's kinda weird when I meet people who are more like how I used to be. But it's especially funny with, for example my form teacher, who has a lot of conservative views. Because of all the hasanabi streams I've watched I was already very familiar with all of her views/arguments, and I found it really easy to argue against them. 

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed

Probably around the time of the 2016 election. Political engagement was the means to an end, a way to solve an ongoing conflict by taking up the pen rather than the sword. Granted, back then I was championing an entirely different cause I've since disavowed. I was a newly of-age Midwestern Republican out to "own the libs" and defend my way of living against the increasingly aggressive assault by outsiders seeking to destroy it.

 

Voting and other forms of political engagement stood as more civil ways of waging war against them at substantially less personal risk, hence why few conservatives actually take up arms and fight. I wasn't disgruntled enough to stand up and do something, much the same as our mainstream right-hand and almost the entirety of the left-wing. Frankly I'm still not, even our doomsayers' warnings of a "dystopian political hellscape" pale in comparison to what I'm seeing elsewhere in the world. America will not do as other countries do, and why should we? Even the majority of our poor are better off than the average citizens of a fair number of other countries. We're content to vote back and forth because we all know subconsciously that the status quo is better than most of the potential outcomes of overturning it.

 

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Eutierria
1 hour ago, bare_trees said:

wondering when/why those who are interested in politics (to whatever degree) became interested.

I had an ongoing interest without realising that I did.

 

Talks on politics at school focused on war & power - I was so uninterested in both those aspects that I thought I wasn't interested in politics itself. 

 

Before I moved out, I lived with my parents & siblings - I was the one who got upset when people wouldn't separate paper, plastics, aluminium & general rubbish for recycling. I'm the only green person in my family. When I met people who are greener than me, I became so much happier - because a) they were able to teach me how to do better and b) knowing people like that existed. Even now, I'm still learning. 

 

I've always had a strong sense of what felt right & wrong but this was quietened by adults who told me that I didn't understand 'real life'. I'm an adult now, I'm living it & have come to understand that what those people meant was 'it takes too much effort' so they couldn't be bothered trying.

 

I'm required to drive for my work & take the train when I can. This is less green than friends who bike everywhere & have a life/job/location where they can be completely fine without a car. I used to feel really uncomfortable about that but have accepted this is the reality of my life & I can only do what's within my control & keep taking the next best step. 

 

Somewhere in my 20s, I learned about petitions & signed every one that I felt strongly towards. Some allowed important proposed acts in becoming law in the UK. 

 

I am still waiting for the day when we can vote for the party we genuinely want to lead us. Instead of the party we dislike the least, in order to make sure that the party we abhor does not get into power. 

 

In terms of understanding politics itself, I feel like I understand very little. This is why prior to voting, I check up on manifestos to check in with what I'm actually voting for. 

 

There are people who can talk about politics for hours & compare different leaders - I don't know how they remember these things. 

 

What's frightening to me is that the older I get, the less the world seems to make sense to me. I question more because I have more understanding & lived experience. 

 

I am in awe of younger people who have not only tuned in quickly to how the world works but campaigning for a better future for the majority of people. 

 

 

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everywhere and nowhere

I first got interested in politics when I was about 11-12 years old. And the most direct events that triggered it was the new abortion law.

It went like this: under communism, the Catholic Church was one of its few legal opponents, able to move within the area of legality, and therefore gained some respect even from non-religious people involved in opposition activities. And then, after the 1989 transformation, the Church started demanding what it considered "its"... it paid lip service to the principle of confessional neutrality of the state, but de facto broke it in many cases, demanded religion in schools (and unfortunately, at no point in Polish history did "religion in schools" mean "history of religions", even when it - quite surprisingly - wasn't immediately withdrawn from schools after the communists took over power in 1944; actually it took them several years even under this most totalitarian period of stalinism) - and another issue was abortion. The law was tightened to only allow legal abortion in cases of irreversible illness or damage to the fetus (this is the one which has been repealed by the so-called Constitutional Tribunal - it's now illegitimate; the president refused to take the oath from legally elected judges and then PiS-dominated parlament selected new ones), pregnancy resulting from an illegal act (rape or incest) or in case of pregnancy endagering the woman's life or health. (And in practice, even that was broken. Agata Lamczak was a young woman in a desired pregnancy who just had the bad luck of suffering from ulcerative enteritis. The doctors didn't even examine her properly because they were afraid that it could cause a miscarriage and then they would have been in trouble, only gave her paracetamol!!! and told her mother that "Your daughter should care less about her ass and more about the baby". They only started treating her properly when the fetus died anyway, but at this point it was also too late for her.)

I didn't feel that it was relevant to me personally because I anyway didn't intend to have sex. But this law felt outrageous to me. Quite shortly thereafter I also started reading a collection of articles by Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński (1874-1941), a columnist, satirist and translator of French literature - the word "satirist" may be a little misleading because what he wrote about issues such as abortion was very serious (that said, he also wrote a lot of very funny things) - and I discovered the uncanny similarity of what was happening in the 1990s and debates about the same issues some 60-70 years earlier...

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- 𝕱𝖗𝖆𝖌𝖌𝖑𝖊𝕽𝖔𝖈𝕶 -

I voted in US presidential elections as soon as I was able but I wouldn't really say I was interested in politics then. It just seemed a good way to contribute to society by picking whoever seemed best.

 

I got more political in 2016 as Trump was awful and seemed like a disaster waiting to happen (and in 2020/2021 it did). Democracy is extremely important to me so when democracy itself is under attack I'll defend it passionately. Winston Churchill said it best: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others that have been tried." I agree politics is a mess but I'm passionate about fighting for "mess" over "a much bigger mess".

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Monke Ilahi

It seems like everyone is saying the 2016 election. I agree. That's when it got entertaining. It seemed to me, as a middle schooler, that before that election politics was all about taxes and boring rules, but after that it became an interesting ideological thing. I started to pay attention to other world news, too. 

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everywhere and nowhere
1 hour ago, - 𝕱𝖗𝖆𝖌𝖌𝖑𝖊𝕽𝖔𝖈𝕶 - said:

I voted in US presidential elections as soon as I was able but I wouldn't really say I was interested in politics then. It just seemed a good way to contribute to society by picking whoever seemed best.

I too voted as soon as I was able to, but for me it was important, I was happy that finally I can vote. Since then I always take part in elections and referenda. Only once I skipped a referendum which was organised in such a sloppy way (ambiguous questions, for example), that I felt that voting would equal legitimising a populist referendum, only approved by the president to cater to some voters. A lot of people thought the same and the result was not recognised because of turnout falling far below the required 50% of votes.

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blunose2772

I was always aware of what was going on in the world of politics as a kid but I didn't start getting interested until I i turned 18 in 2002 and could start voting and actually participate so to speak. I watched the news a lot as a kid mostly so my sister couldn't pull the same trick she did when it was time to name the cat when she told me they passed a law that all cats had to be named Whiskers. But that's a different story for a different thread.

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StarryNightAllAlone

I was more interested in politics as a teenager. My interest in politics was limited to watching videos on YouTube. I think what made me interested in politics was trying to be closer to my father. I realized I wasn't being true to myself, so I stopped. My views lean more one way, but for a time, I convinced myself that my views leaned the other way. I'm not someone who is super opinionated or zealous about politics. I do care about the impact that politics have on people, but I try to stay out of the drama. I accept other people's views as long as what they believe isn't actively hurting other people.

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Don't know I'd say it made me "interested in politics", but Bush's election (more like coup, but that was something I didn't find out until later), then 9/11 and seeing how bloodthirsty and unquestioningly obedient president ("If you don't support the war/the Patriot Act/whatever, you're a terrorist sympathizer!") Americans became online combined with the normalization of blatant racism against Muslims...yeah, that made me question many things. Then came the Iraq War, which was so obviously bullshit to me even at the time, and seeing how much support it had in 2002/early 2003 was most likely the first starting point of my radicalization.

 

3 hours ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

Even the majority of our poor are better off than the average citizens of a fair number of other countries.

Country whose system is built on exploiting the global south has better standard of living than the exploited global south. surprised_pikachu.jpg

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I grew up in the 60s and early 70s. My interest in politics is more about wanting to know the issues and people so I can make informed decisions, rather than a "fun" interest. I don't enjoy politics. If anything I often find it annoying and frustrating. But back in the day (1960s/70s) watching things like the Watergate hearings live and seeing all of that play out, hearing about the ecology movement, the civil rights movement, women's rights, the Vietnam War (especially facing the possibility of getting drafted into it at some point), assassinations of people like JFK and MLK, all contributed to my interest. I was glad when I reached voting age and could add my voice and vote. I have voted in every election at every level since then. My first presidential election I could vote in was Ford vs. Carter.

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Sammie Claus

Growing up, I had very limited interaction with people, and mostly kept to myself until I was in my early 20's. I never had any friends, nor had any internet, and rarely interacted with people, so it was not really something that I could get into.

 

I have always voted since I was legally old enough, and over the years I have become more politically minded and follow the politics and situation in many countries, rather than just my own. Especially regarding LGBT and disability issues, as well as those affecting other minorities.

 

I regularly check out various political figures, they affiliations, voting histories, etc. And have been associated with various political parties and organisations over the years. Currently I am unaligned, having gave up my membership of the Labour Party in 2020.

 

I have mostly voted for the Labour Party in the past, twice voted Green in local elections, once voted Liberal Democrat, and last local elections spoiled my vote as I only had the options of Labour or Conservative, and will not vote for either.

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Frenchace

When I was a teen there were this talk show that makes fun of politicians. Thought it was funny and I started listening to politics like that.

Now this is over, politicians disgust me cause they are like little children (well, maybe not, it sounds insulting for little children).

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Milque Toast

Completely forgot to mention that a big part of why I got more invested in politics was also because I sorta had to. Finding out I was queer as heck made me realise that suddenly, it meant I was also affected by anti- trans/gay bills, and those with conservative/transphobic views. I mean jeez, some poeple see being trans as a political thing. Since I'm priveledged in every other social class, it wasn't really something I thought about until it started affecting me. But.. maybe that was also because I was 11 years old. I didn't start questioning my queerness until I was 12, so I'm hoping that my empathy would have still carried me to care about these issues lol

And I guess sorta, but more in the USA side of politics, my AFAB existence/rights are also something I need to worry about. Even though I'm ace, I'd still fight for my right to an abortion/birth control (and heck. rape exists, too.) but at least in the UK, abortion is legal everywhere. Although I think the republic of Ireland is a little different (it's not in the UK though)

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hewhomainsness

back when i started to understand how screwed up everything was

 

so around 10 years old

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BigBassFox

I've always been interested in politics because I come from a political family. My grandfather ran for a position in the house of representatives I believe and had many friends in politics. A cousin in the family was the only democratic governor to be elected in the state in the past 50 years or so. I really care this time around as the tensions regarding laws on trans people are high. And as unfortunate as it is, the politicians have our lives in their hands, so I want someone in power who actually cares for us.

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Lord Revan

When I realised how fucked America is. So 11 or such

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hewhomainsness
Just now, Lord Revan said:

When I realised how fucked America is. So 11 or such

i made that joke already

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Lord Revan
Just now, hewhomainsness said:

i made that joke already

Mine isn't a joke. That is how it happened

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Lysandre, the Star-Crossed
2 hours ago, Still said:

Country whose system is built on exploiting the global south has better standard of living than the exploited global south.

In all fairness that's many of the countries in the North.

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AspieAlly613

For me, it's been a gradual increase.  I started becoming aware of the positions supported by Democrats vs. Republicans in 1999, could start describing overarching ideological differences around 2002, and it grew from there.

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Crazy Cat Lady

I wasn't at all interested when I was a teenager. When I was able to start voting at 18, the environment was my biggest issue (and it remains so at almost 50), and I at least did enough research to decide how to vote. But it's only been the past 10 years (ish) or so that I'm much more interested in what's going on, here in Canada and in the US, in particular. I'm guessing it was about 10 years ago when I started watching election results on tv, so that's kind of when I feel like I got "much" more interested.

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Besides my parents’ roommate telling me about the government hiding the existence of aliens when I was like 6 and didn’t even know what “the government” was lol, I was exposed to LGBTQ+ issues from a young age. After my parents got divorced when I was 7 and my mom got with an AFAB who looked and dressed like a man (he did eventually transition to being a man after he and my mom broke up, but he was still IDing as a woman when he and my mom were together). Thinking that people like my mom and her partner should be allowed to be with each other and should be allowed to dress and present how they want was kind of my gateway drug to being an NAP-believing Libertarian now as an adult.

 

Then there were other issues I learned about as a kid that I felt strongly about. When I was like 8 first heard that men have to sign up for the draft when they turned 18 I thought that was wrong. First of all I thought it was sexist that they only do it to men, but I also thought it was horrible to force anyone to fight in wars. Then when I learned about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings I thought that was wrong because people shouldn’t be bombed and killed just because they live in a country that happens to be at war. I still to this day will say the draft is slavery and human trafficking, and bombing civilians is mass murder.

 

Of course, there were also a few things I’ve changed my mind on. When I found out about abortion when I was 12 I thought it was wrong and I was pro-life until I was 16 or 17. I considered myself either Liberal or Left-leaning for much of my teens and early 20’s, but now I’m a Libertarian like I said.

 

TL;DR It was gradual as I learned about or was exposed to different issues. 

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1 hour ago, Lysandre, the Star-Crossed said:

In all fairness that's many of the countries in the North.

The Global North/South designations have nothing to do with geography.

 

Forgot to mention the 2008 crisis, which has only continued to radicalize me. Obama gave the people who caused it billions, when he should've [REDACTED] them and nationalized the banks.

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AceArospec

I first became "aware" of politics when I was 11 (1992). I'm sure it was because there was likely a social studies focus in school since it was an election year, but I think that's when I started to understand the purpose of government (ideally, not necessarily realistically) & electing folks to represent ideals that matched your own. It's also when I started to notice differing political opinions. and it was the first time I noticed I was forming my own opinions that were at times different from my parents.' I lived in the midwest at the time & was surrounded by folks with different political affiliations and opinions from one another, though it seemed like they were civil about disagreeing then as opposed to what I see now. Folks seemed to genuinely listen & try to understand others' perspectives. Maybe I was just naïve or unaware, though, or maybe my teachers structed debates well. There was also no social media then, so that probably made a difference.  

To this day I feel like I don't fully understand government or politics, but I try to stay informed.  In general I find politics both extremely important and equally (or possibly more) frustrating. 

 

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SabeSparklexoxo

 Ever since 2020 ive been interested in all sorts of political systems, philosophies and history surronding it. Im trying to learn more and broaden my horisons but its hard when i try to read the ceonomist for example, takes me ages to finish it! I love listening to podcasts though, the americano on sportify is one of my favourites. 

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MarRister

I honestly can't remember a specific when. I come from a family who likes to discuss political and social matters a lot, and this has interested me for as long as I can remember. I like being up on my knowledge of local and wider scale political ongoings, and I like to research to form my own opinions on matters and will debate them with whomever. I have been so busy though in the past couple years, my keeping up with current events has been more limited so I have a lot more unformed opinions and so don't speak on these things as much. 

 

As a kid at family dinners at my grandparents, all the men would sit in the living room and discuss politics while the women cleaned in the kitchen and talked about, I don't even know what, because it was of so little interest to me. One of my favourite things was to just listen to their political discussions, but it took a long time before I became comfortable sharing my own opinions on anything. 

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JimmyJazz

When the Conservative & Liberal Democrat coalition hiked up university fees and the increase just so happened to start on the same academic year I was due to start my undergraduate degree. Thank you to David Cameron and Nick Clegg for my £12,500 debt with Student Finance England. 😘

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Black-purple-grey

I was about 16 I think. I remember not being old enough to vote in the general election and I became really annoyed at the winning party and how they were running the country, I was impatient to be old enough to vote in the next election. 

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