Do More, Say More

With the November 3 election looming, conversations about political engagement have focused on issues like voter registration and participation. It is necessary, however, to consider the ways in which we can take part in politics outside of the electoral system. Politics exists within many aspects of life in the U.S., such as individual relationships, community bonds, and our national identity. Voting in a presidential election is a political act at the broadest level, but in order to create meaningful change, we must engage at every level.

While a small, individual act like voting is an important exercise of civic duty, voting alone does not fulfill one’s responsibility to engage with social issues. As racial justice and public health catastrophes have garnered greater public attention this year, it is important to support community-based initiatives that implement change on a local level. For many, this may mean attending city council meetings to become educated about local political issues and candidates. This may also mean calling—as opposed to emailing—your representatives. Local political activism can have outsized effects on national issues, as we have seen with issues of police reform and environmentalism. For those interested in bringing public awareness to pressing issues, engagement with the community looks like attending protests, participating in rallies, and donating to supportive organizations.

Although many Andover students are not eligible to vote, we are not barred from creating the changes we want to see in the world. We are all capable of implementing small adjustments in our daily lives to support what we care about, such as composting waste or using public transport to support the environment. Additionally, greater involvement with community issues at school, such as student-led organizations, and at home enables students to enact change. This could mean prioritizing diversity when choosing the boards of student clubs, speaking up about important issues during class discussions or, in the case of student journalism organizations like The Phillipian, ensuring there is accountability in the coverage of varying political ideas.

This point brings us to one of the most important ways to participate in the political process: civil discourse with people of differing beliefs. Just as social change begins with small actions, so too will the path towards depolarization. We must be willing to make space for people with differing political views, one interaction at a time. These conversations will not be comfortable, but who ever thought they would be? All we ask that political discourse is civil and respectful. Political and social engagement in daily life is a necessary aspect to Andover’s emphasis on educating its students and faculty on empathy and inclusion. By building empathy for those we disagree with, we can prevent the demonization of opposing political parties, a frequent cause of disillusionment with the political process in general. Although it is easy to be reactionary, these discussions are necessary to become more politically engaged and aware.

This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXLIII