Why I’m so Interested in Politics

I got into politics at a young age, probably in a weird manner. My parents really liked Joel Pett’s cartoons in the Lexington Herald-Leader, and I started clipping and collecting them. I didn’t often understand them, and would ask my parents what they meant.

I’m not sure why they would sit and patiently explain to me about environmental issues, gun rights concerns, political scandals, and all kinds of other things, but they did. Eventually I stopped asking. Not because I had gotten bored and moved on to another obsession—hardly. I started reading the paper myself.

Then for my birthday, I asked my parents to get me a subscription to Newsweek. This probably solidified me being considered the ‘odd’ child in my parents’ minds. But again, they did it anyway. I really think God knew what he was doing when he made us a family because there are plenty of parents who would not have encouraged this at all—they would have bought me dresses and dolls or told me that politics is just for grownups (or men, or grownup men). Instead, they’d let me stay up if there was breaking news.

All through high school, I toyed with being a journalist. I worked at the school paper and wrote here and there. I didn’t want to be on television—believe it or not, I was too shy to have a camera pointed at my face. But when I got to college, I hated the journalism courses and changed my major to history instead. Weirdly, I never wanted to go into public service. I would rather be the one reading the news than the one out there making it, I guess.

I like history because it gives things a context. Because I know more about where we have been as a country and what we have done, I can understand more about the things that we are doing now. For example, I wasn’t alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but knowing what went on really helps me understand the way things have been evolving with our relationship with Cuba. I find that kind of thing really interesting. See, it all ties back to politics, though.

The other thing I like about politics is that it is a willingness to shape the world around you, even if we’re talking about a small scale. You can use legislation to preserve things that are meaningful, set up regulations to help people maintain a certain standard of living, or even pass laws to promote trade or protect your citizens.

There are so many things that politics has a hand in that we don’t even really think about—your kids’ classrooms are paid with funds from your county government; from the state and federal government, too. The car you drive has improved safety features thanks to laws that have been passed. The road you’re driving on was likely paved through a public works program and maintained by state funds, too. Even if you don’t consider yourself political, you probably should—I guarantee you have an opinion on some of these things!