American voters responsible for being informed about politics

Accurate news reporting in the age of President Donald Trump’s administration is as necessary as ever—and, it seems particularly difficult to find. As Trump continues his ongoing cabinet appointments and meetings with international leaders, staying informed about current events is so important under this difficult and unpredictable administration.

While finding completely unbiased news is difficult, it is not too difficult to regularly research and to check up on daily political news and events just to stay casually informed about what is going on in our government. 

Since I don’t have too much time during the day to sit down and to read in-depth about the news, Twitter notifications from the Associated Press and other similar news organizations allow me to stay somewhat informed about current politics while navigating school and work every day.

This influx of notifications, however—and the ongoing discourse surrounding the quality of journalism and certain news outlets—is overwhelming, to say the least. While it is extremely important to stay informed about current events under Trump’s administration, it is tempting to want to step off the grid and separate oneself from the dizzying Internet news world.

I believe that despite some people’s desire to keep politics out of their personal lives, it is harmful and ignorant to be passive about politics. It is a privilege to be able to stay out of political discussions or to stay uninformed, as this shows that one may be in a comfortable position where some crucial political decisions—such as the defunding of Planned Parenthood or the immigration ban—will not affect oneself or one’s family.

Although it is tiring and stressful—both mentally and emotionally—to engage oneself in disappointing and frustrating politics on a regular basis, it keeps us citizens on our toes and ready to keep our government and politicians accountable for their actions. 

Dozens of notifications about Trump’s scandals with Russian officials and Senate members are not the most uplifting things to read in the morning—but to choose ignorance over information harms society in the long run.

Trump’s grievances about corrupt news outlets are a ploy to further build Americans’ distrust of the media. While criticism of the media is a valid viewpoint, we must retaliate by reading as much diverse media as possible—instead of just ignoring it and blaming bias.

Giving yourself a break from reading or watching disheartening and frightening political news is absolutely welcomed. But for those who are privileged, we cannot let our discomfort and cognitive dissonance move us toward a side of ignorance and neutrality against oppressors. 

The best weapon a citizen has against the government is knowledge. The more we know about what is going on behind closed doors in the White House, the better chance we have of making positive differences in local government and in future federal administrations.