General Question

letmeknow17's avatar

How does one get into Politics?

Asked by letmeknow17 (94 points ) April 21st, 2012

I want to see if Politics is something I can get into, so what are the basics I should know/understand to truly become apart of the political community. Do I need to brush up on my history knowledge, or can I get by with limited history knowledge? If you don’t think I could, which part of history should I go back to for a review?

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16 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

When you say, “get into politics” do you mean becoming a more active citizen or running for office?

zenvelo's avatar

As background, you ought to have a broad based education in history, sociology, economics, and political science. the best way to get in is to volunteer for a campaign, and volunteer for a party. Start getting involved in grass roots political organizing, and network, network, network. A lot of politics is based on who you know and are connected to; that’s how you get local support.

And after doing that for a few years, run for a local office that exposes you to a broad base of issues, and also exposes you to local party officials.

From there it is a matter of working up to the level you feel comfortable with.

filmfann's avatar

You need to learn more about Government than History.
You will need to learn how the government works. Who has what responsabities, and what are the restrictions on what you can do.
You should also have some good ideas on how to improve things.
An understanding of Economics would help if you are planning to go much further than City Council.

letmeknow17's avatar

@kayak8 become a more active citizen

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letmeknow17's avatar

I mean get into politics so I can engage in controversial topics with friends and family

Jeruba's avatar

Keeping up your reading on various sides of issues will enhance your ability to engage in conversation and debate. But if what you want is to become active, volunteering is a great way to start.

Are you in the U.S.? The pre-election period this year will offer lots of opportunities for volunteer work in various political campaigns from local to national. That’s one way in.

Another is to get involved in community activities that aren’t specifically about politics (at least overtly). Sooner or later a local initiative is going to lead to a politician. For example, an issue in my neighborhood led to a neighborhood meeting, and the organizers invited a city council member to attend, listen, and speak. If someone wanted to become active, that would have been a platform and a connection to get started from.

filmfann's avatar

@letmeknow17 Oh, you want to talk politics. Then you should know what you’re talking about (obviously people in office don’t have that requirement). Read the newspapers. Study history, economics, social studies, government, debating and philosophy.
Also, knowing how to bullshit someone is valuable.

Sunny2's avatar

Volunteer. We have a big election coming up. Go and offer yourself up at you favorite candidate’s local office.You may be folding flyers or making phone calls, or what ever is needed. Keep your ears open and you’ll learn a lot. (I’m assuming you know your basic civics.)

YARNLADY's avatar

Attend political meetings, speak up, volunteer to work for a politician.

letmeknow17's avatar

@filmfann yes exactly, I want to be able to talk politics. Any ideas of where I should begin?

Jeruba's avatar

@letmeknow17, this thread already contains a good many ideas for where to begin, including in @filmfann‘s post.

Jaxk's avatar

@letmeknow17

A good start is right here on fluther. Get engaged in the political discussions. Whether here or elsewhere you will need to be thick skinned. I find I learn as much by researching my own answers as I do from reading others. I rather enjoy the controversy so that helps. If you are conservative a stint on a liberal site such as this will give you a lot of work to research. If you are liberal a conservative site may offer a better learning experience. Either way when you get to the point that you can hold your own in these political discussions, you know you’ve made progress.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Going into politics?

Step #1: sell your soul.

Ok, in all seriousness, you just want to educate yourself and be able to hold your own in discussions. First thing I’d do is read a bit about government in general; get a book from the library, or a textbook if you still have one, and review how government is structured and how it’s supposed to work. If you really want to get down and dirty, read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and other works that explain the origins of our government and its early history. But a general text/survey will do, just to get the basics.

The second step is to read, read, read newspapers, news sites, blogs, etc. that cover news or analyze news. Get balance, though; read a few U.S. newspapers/sites, and then check out foreign news sites for a different perspective (the Guardian, BBC, Al-Jazeera are just a few you could check). Additionally, depending on your political bent, read some newspapers/sites that are slanted towards opposing beliefs (as @Jaxk pointed out). This will help you understand the central arguments people are making, regardless of whether you agree with those arguments (or even find them valid).

As @filmfann states, knowing some history and economics will help a lot as well.

Observe other discussions/arguments. Over time, the knowledge you’ve accumulated will help you pick apart the points people make, and once you’re able to deconstruct someone’s arguments, you then are capable of making your own. At that point, jump in. You’ll then be on the offensive and defensive, and learn as you go along how to craft your arguments. You’ll also know when to be diplomatic, when to shut up, and when to let go.

Politics inflames people, but since there is politics in everything, the more you learn about how politics works, the more you’re able to engage with others around you and understand how our society works (or doesn’t work, for that matter!).

GoDogGo's avatar

One trips and falls.

Channing's avatar

How does one get into politics? On purpose. Like a bad joke carefully disquised as a meaningful life and engineered to make begging seem like a respectful profession. It seems if you are very gifted at promises and skilled at trashing the competition then well, naturally your in. High school on steroids, bad ones.

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