So in 2016, the political climate got a bit heated. (Understatement of the year, yes?) If you're anything like me, you probably realized that your understanding of the world at large is still somewhat lacking. Fortunately, the information age makes it easy to remedy this situation. For instance, there are New Year's resolutions to make you more politically aware of the world around you. Because whatever your political background, there is always something new to learn.
Granted, this is a huge topic and there's no way to cover all aspects by reading one article. But you can use this list as a starting point for your own research. If nothing else, it may remind you of the many avenues of learning that are available now, from podcasts to audiobooks to apps. Your bourgeoning political awareness can become a part of your everyday routine.
Whether you want to learn more about global political events or the movements that affect your own neighborhood, greater political knowledge will only benefit your understanding of the world. You might even find a new cause that you care about, or finally understand the nuances of some larger issue. Whatever the case, becoming more politically aware will make you more informed on issues in or out of the voting booth.
1. Read More Books About Political Issues
Reading may be the best way to boost your understanding of this subject. Everything from political science textbooks to detailed studies of particular historical events will help you understand the context of the current political landscape. For starters, you may want to check out Politics From A to Z by Richard Ganis.
2. Listen To Political Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn about almost anything while you're commuting, doing laundry, or otherwise bumming around. A global news podcast from BBC World Service or a program such as Common Sense with Dan Carlin could serve as good jumping-off points. Really, if there's some aspect of politics you find interesting, there's probably a podcast about it.
3. Read A Variety Of Papers
Bias is a concern for anyone who deals in politics. To combat bias, you may want to read a variety of papers to get your news, and also check out some foreign publications, as noted by Western Journalism. Best of all, many of these stories are available for free online.
4. Use Audiobooks
Slogging through political books can take some patience, and you're working with limited hours in a day. So you may want to look at political audiobooks to increase your understanding of politics. You can listen to them anywhere, and many titles can be checked out for free. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of being the only person on the elliptical machine listening to The Federalist Papers. No one would ever guess your secret.
5. Get Apps
Yes, apps aren't just for Snapchats or weather updates. Plenty of apps will keep you politically informed wherever you may go. For instance, browsing icitizen can keep you updated on current events when you're stuck in a long checkout line. What better way is there to multitask?
6. Try Social Media
Getting all of your news through social media may not be the best way to keep up with world events. But this form of new media can be a surprisingly useful addition to your political awareness repertoire. For instance, Twitter can be used to give leaders a real-time look at how users feel about certain issues, as noted by Forbes. Social media can be an excellent supplement to your political education.
7. Read Your Country's Laws
If it's been a hot minute since your last civics class, then your may want to take some time to reacquaint yourself with what your country's laws actually say. (Seriously: this step is often overlooked). But a little concentrated effort can have you acquainted with the letter of the law in no time.
8. Know When & Where To Vote
If you're in the United States, there are probably loads of elections going on. Local politics may be easy to overlook, but they can provide you with basic insight into the world of campaigns and elections. Keep up with your local elections and learn what rallies voters in your part of the world.
Get involved in local politics to gain some next-level understanding of the inner workings of this world. According to Local Victory, going to town political committee meetings or even volunteering on a campaign, is a fantastic way to get more politically involved in your community. You may even become inspired to run for office yourself one day.