AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Friday, August 22, 2014
You Really Do Need To Be "Into" Politics
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, August 22, 2014
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
just not into politics.”
time I hear that phrase I chuckle and shake my head (yes, that’s the rattling
sound you hear).So many times I want to
stop and ask these people if they truly understand just what the word politics
seem to be under the impression it is something unsavory, illicit, and
sneaky.They look upon the very breadth
and scope of the word as an evil to be avoided whenever possible.They seem to consider it beneath them.
see politics as the act of running for office, of promoting yourself or your
party, or merely gaining an unfair advantage.Much of the reason for that is because this is the aspect that gets the
most attention.Politics in essence has
given itself a bad name, with considerable help from those who utilize it more
to aid themselves than others.
according to the dictionary I consulted, politics is at its core “the practice
or study of the art and science of forming, directing, and administering states
and other political units; the art and science of government.”And that is not only a necessary practice,
but a noble one.
is largely what makes our country, states, cities and towns good or bad places
to live.In areas where it results in well-managed
governments, politics is what takes care of us as a people.It is what builds our roads and schools, what
brings water and electricity to our homes, and what provides and enforces laws
that allow us to live in relative security.
politics is not and should not be the driving force in the lives of every
member of society, it is not something you should readily ignore or not “be
into” either.Just as keeping our air
and water clean is ultimately the responsibility of everyone, politics too
requires a collective effort if it is truly going to be effective.
not into art, and I’m definitely not into science.So why would I criticize anyone for not
“being into” something described as the art and science of government?
answer to that question is simple.The
fact I am not a fan of fine art or the details of scientific discovery does not
significantly affect the lives of those around me.If I don’t go to a museum, my neighbors will
not suffer any negative consequences.If
I don’t understand how the earth was formed, it will not lead to problems for
those across town.
if I don’t participate in the political process, if I don’t at least make an
effort to vote and be reasonably informed on the issues – it can create issues
for others.The smaller the total voting
public, the easier it is for any political persuasion, party or candidate to
seize control and exert their will instead of that of the public.
is our duty.It is essentially a right,
one that is necessary if we are to provide for the common good and come
together as a people and a government.
who are not “into” politics often suffer for their lack of interest.When you own a home and suddenly need a
zoning variance, it is overwhelming to not have any understanding of how the
process works.When your property taxes
are threatening to substantially rise and you need to do something about it,
politics suddenly becomes extremely important.
is no need for everyone to be a political expert.You don’t have to run for office.You don’t have to work on a campaign.You don’t even need to put a sign on your
lawn or donate to a candidate.
you really don’t have the luxury of not being “into” politics.It affects your life on a daily basis, in
ways you don’t even think about until it is too late.If you consistently and deliberately allow
others to dictate the rules of our society without your input or participation
– then you deserve whatever result is delivered.
can be a good thing if we make it so.The first step in doing that is to at the very least take the opportunity
to cast your ballot.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
longtime area town official.He can be
emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at