Learning about politics
As my children have grown (17 & 18) I have found it interesting what is and isn’t taught in schools. If my logic is correct, if it isn’t taught in schools then it needs to be taught at home if we don’t want our children to learn behind bike sheds or, worse, via Facebook and its diet of #alternativefacts.
Out of quite a long list that includes financial literacy, parenting and philosophy, politics and our political system do not feature high on the curriculum. It is not a criticism of schools, more a criticism of our society as schools teach what is demanded by the incumbent government. Unfortunately, politics is equally not a subject that is discussed in the majority of households. We are, therefore, creating generations of people who are ignorant in regards to local and global politics.
I’d bet the majority of people know more about the All Blacks or Silver Ferns than who is currently running the country. Rugby and netball aren’t more important than politics, they may be more interesting, but they are games like Cluedo and tiddlywinks. Who really benefits when neoliberalism, MMP, child poverty and climate change are less important than losing to Ireland? Probably only politicians, certainly not those on the minimum wage, children and our water ways.
Politics is meant to be a contest of ideas but it has become a popularity contest, evidenced by Trump’s (and in New Zealand John Key and Jacinda Ardern) success with little debate about policy and zero discussion around ideology or philosophy. The attitude seems to be “who cares” and “they are all hopeless” (except, it seems, John Key and Jacinda Ardern).
Ignorance shouldn’t be viewed as bliss or acceptable. Ignorance is ignorance and allows democracies to elect idiots like Trump and Bolsonaro (Brasil’s new far-right, climate change skeptic, leader). Politics is indelibly linked to society and society, globally and locally, is not well. We need our children to be knowledgeable and be able to debate politics intelligently. Otherwise how will the next generation hold those in power to account? Our generation isn’t and we marginalise those who are trying on our behalf (i.e. Nicky Hager or Dr Mike Joy).
My advice, make sure your children understand our political system works and why it is important to be knowledgeable. If nothing else, they will be a great catch!
Thanks for reading, feel free to buy me a coffee........ 😎