WE SHOULD ALL BE ACTIVE CITIZENS.

You see little children being forced to work

Little soft hands

Innocent minds

Yet they carry a load most of us wouldn’t

You see garbage all around the city

No one seems to care

Not even the so-called “educated”

You see ignorance

You see exploitation

You breathe pollution

You see broken roads

You see fused streetlights

You see dirty drains

You see apathy.

You see injustice.

Are you angry yet?

But what can you really do about this?

There’s a lot you can actually and for this, you’ll have to be an active citizen, you will have to speak up and you’ll have to be more aware of what’s going on around you, it’s easy and it’s required.

When you say politics isn’t for me or you aren’t interested  in politics,trust me politics is interested in you. The fact of the matter is that politics is not a hobby, it’s an institution and it affects almost every single aspect of our lives. Most of us choose to view politics as a colourless subject mostly discussed by old men on a Sunday afternoon because they really have nothing else to do. This impression about politics has to change and it needs to change soon. Politics isn’t just limited to elections and political parties fighting it out,  it includes daily activities right from the clothes we wear to the water we drink. Almost all our movements are fundamentally connected to politics alone.

When you make statements such as “I’m not into politics” or “politics is  boring” or “ I don’t pay attention to politics”, You’re becoming a part of the problem we see around us today, ignorant statements like these may sound harmless but believe it or not most of our problems sprout out from statements such as these.

Now that i’ve explained to you why it’s important to be an active citizen,let me tell you how to be one.

I take you through 10 steps which would make you  a more effective citizen.

This isn’t a comprehensive one and there are many other things you could do to change the system but it is a guideline on where you can start.

|KNOW MORE|

Being aware isn’t a bad thing, knowing your local representative or knowing what’s going around in your country isn’t a bad thing

Politics isn’t boring nor is it useless, it’s an easy way to solve problems and its high time we get more involved in it.

Most of our youth don’t want to get involved in political issues  or they refuse to even have a stance on the issues we face. Young people coming into the system is the only way we can solve our problems and what we don’t like about our planet, we can crib all we want but without us really getting our hands dirty nothing will ever change.The future literally rests on your shoulders.

|START VOTING|

I know this may not apply to all of you but if you’re eligible and you aren’t voting you’re only becoming a part of the problem.

Voting ensures you have a say and you ensure those who shouldn’t be in power don’t get to be in power. Voter turnouts  have been dangerously low in urban areas and especially among the youth and it’s  about time we changed this.

When you vote although you may be voting for a candidate, you do it for yourself and for your loved ones, NOT for those who get elected .

Imagine if everyone said their vote doesn’t count and they don’t vote? Would trustworthy people be elected ?

A vote in simple terms is a protest against injustice, ignorance and apathy .

|FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ARE FUN|

Knowing your rights isn’t a thing you do for yourself, it’s a thing you do for those around you

The example about little children being forced to work? How would you help them out if  you aren’t aware of your rights?

Yes, I agree with you the Fundamental rights may not sound very fun and civics may not be the most exciting,but it’s so important to know and research about them.

Read about what your constitution gives you and helps you out with and educate those around you about these rights.

Remember rights aren’t privileges given to a few of  us, they are necessities guaranteed to every single one of us.

|BE LOUD|

When you feel something doesn’t feel very correct, speak out about it

Remember you are never too young to start taking action. When you see people littering or you see people blatantly break the law, don’t hesitate to speak out

Don’t think your voice is too little, it isn’t and it’s powerful, a citizens job sometimes is too keep their mouths open.

Always remember a politically active society is a nightmare for those who use the system only for their benefit

It’s about time we started making a noise.

|TAKE CHARGE|

You see people throwing thrash? Take charge. Do something about it, you could start by even picking up someone’s trash

Yes this may seem cliche and quite honestly many people may have said this to you but think about it for a minute and self-introspect, do you really want to be citizen who has no regard for the law or for society ? Or do you want to be a changemaker ?

Do you want to take charge? Or do you want to ignore our problems and let someone else deal with it?

|EDUCATE|

People need awareness and those who aren’t very fortunate need it more than we do. Try educating those you see around you about their rights, duties and responsibilities. Encourage them to start voting and help them hold their representatives accountable. As the title of this article suggests- we should all be active citizens not just those who are educated or rich.

This is the most important step in your journey of becoming an active citizen, this would be your legacy.

|RESPECT|

When you become an active citizen, there will be people out there who may not agree with you. Try understanding  their positions and try being respectful about them. Always remember the more opinions we have, the better it is

|MOBILIZE|

Most of the issues we face aren’t faced by us alone, a vast majority of those around us face the same problems

Start mobilizing and talking to them

Start talking collective action and start ensuring  your voice is heard

Don’t be discouraged when you see people being ignorant towards what you’re trying to say. Throughout history the forces of change have always been successful when they have stood up for good causes. Huge changes may take time but they may never happen if you don’t wake up today.

Quite honestly the greatest of all mistakes is to do  nothing simply because you can do very little

|SOLVE|

Complaining about issues and protesting may be a major part about being an effective citizen but giving solutions to problems should be a part of your focus as well

Don’t leave it to the government or to anyone else to solve problems which we face, be a part of the solution and not the problem.

|NOW|

Lastly start now, watch the news or maybe read the newspaper and learn about what’s happening around you

Think about ways in which you can do your bit

It’s never too late nor too early, change starts now.

Think about it – almost every constitution in the world starts with “We the people” and not “I the politician.”

With this I sign off hoping to have inspired you to start being more active. Remember your actions may seem insignificant or small but you’re contributing to your society and your country and there isn’t anything greater than this. I urge you all start being  more active citizens. Don’t leave it anyone else, make this your duty.

In my opinion, most of the issues we face as a society today are mainly because of our ignorance, if we start being changemakers it isn’t a long time before our problems are solved.

Think about any issue we face and go to the root of it, a deadly word called ignorance is always at fault.

I end with the words of Charles de Gaulle who once said –

“Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians”

Let us all take a vow to reform the way we look at society and to start being more active in civic issues. When people come together to make a difference, no force on earth can stop them!

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