You’re just boring, River Lin on why he finds this whole politics thing a bit of a yawn.
I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit just how little I know about politics. It's boring. It doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. It's the sort of topic that can put me to sleep just thinking about it. Sure, it's an important feature of democracy but, for a long time, all I felt was apathy.
In high school, the only time I registered that it was election year was when a billboard with John Key's face was put up near the school gates, only for it to be immediately defaced with crosshairs and a giant penis. Over the years, my engagement with politics has continued to be next to zero – what does it matter anyway when I can be doing literally anything other than watching old white men verbally scrap it out on the parliamentary floor?
From a distance, politics is debating over things I honestly couldn't care less about, like which New Zealand flag is slightly more tolerable than the other, or whether we really need ten more roads spread throughout the regions. But it's also things that I feel really strongly about that don't necessarily come to mind when I think of politics – things like feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change and privacy laws. It's only recently that I've become more politically involved – thanks, in part, to the living nightmare that is the Trump administration.
What does it matter anyway when I can be doing literally anything other than watching old white men verbally scrap it out on the parliamentary floor?
A large part of my political ignorance, I think, is to do with the political rhetoric; the way parties’ policies are communicated is not at all engaging to my generation. For the most part, it’s middle-aged men in suits talking to other middle-aged men in suits. I’m a Millennial; my attention is already elsewhere and, like a chore I'd rather not be doing, taking the time to educate myself about policy seems too boring and time-consuming. Maybe I'd understand it better if all the political candidates were replaced with cats, or the policies were announced through interpretive dance?
No, but seriously. What I'm trying to say is that it takes a lot of effort to get one’s head around it all, and by the end I'm not even sure if I'm fully aware of what each party is actually offering. Want to get young people voting? Talk to them in their language, through their mediums.
I'm gradually coming to realise just how important it is to take part in society, and to feel like I'm being heard rather than taking the easy way out by not voting. This has made me better informed of what it is I stand for and to which parties that might align with. It doesn't mean I find politics interesting – the perpetually smiling orange tube man still creeps me out – but I have at least come to recognise the value of being heard.