Most people tend to avoid politics and the political news because they don't like how it makes them feel - confused. Reading the political news often engenders feelings of annoyance and confusion among individuals who don't understand it. But whether you want to be or not, your life is caught up in politics and keeping informed can help you to get a handle on things and even help influence them. To start you on the road to understanding, here is politics in a nutshell.

People cannot live together for long without coming into conflict with each other if they are left to do whatever they please. Soon homes would be built on other people's land, valuables would be stolen, and someone would get trodden on. In order to keep people in line and balance out their freedom with their right not to be hurt by others, everyone agrees on a political system and elects members to represent them in a body that makes laws and decisions. This is called a democracy.

In a democracy like ours, you are being represented by the politicians who work within it whether you want them to or not. These people are responsible for making the types of decisions they think you and the others they represent would want them to make. To find out what it is the people they represent (called constituents) want, they often share a meal, read letters from ordinary citizens, and hold meetings where people can have the chance to voice their opinions.

If you want something from the government, it is your responsibility to make it known to your politician. You might write them a letter, attend a meeting, or even just make your opinion known by voting for or against them when they are trying to get elected or re-elected to a certain office. In order to figure out what your politicians attentions are and what he or she is doing that affects you as a citizen, you must keep up to date on politics and the political news.

Politics involves a wide variety of activities, negotiating with other interest groups, making laws, and campaigning, which is the process by which politicians ask people to vote for them. You can get your political news from anywhere - a newspaper, a TV broadcast, the internet. You can even have it wrapped in an appealing comedic form that makes it easier to swallow, such as on late night television shows. If one source confuses you, try another. There is one out there for everyone.

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