Many people say they don’t like watching the news because it is depressing, and it kinda is. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep up with current events. With all the resources and information for free on the internet, there is no reason you should not be informed and educated about the world we are living in. Here are 5 reasons you should be keeping up with current events.
1. Current events affect you
Current events affect you, whether you know it or not. This is particularly true when it comes to keeping up with the things happening in your local government. The decisions of your elected officials in your city are very likely to have some effect on you and how you live your life. For example, something everyone at this point has gone through is local government mandated lockdowns. All over the United States, county and state governments have been implementing unique lockdown rules in the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you did not keep up with this news, you would not be in the know about how to follow the rules of the lockdowns. There are plenty of other examples of this, like local curfews and closures. Overall, it is important that you stay informed about all the actions of every level of government, because they affect you even if you don’t realize it.
2. Current events affect those you care about
Even if current events and government actions are not personally affecting you at the moment, they are almost certainly affecting those you care about. If certain political actions are hurting your loved ones and you are in a position to do something about it, it is the moral thing to speak up alongside them. For example, the recent protests in opposition to police brutality against black people and the Black Lives Matter movement call upon non-black allies to speak up and use their voice alongside black protestors so that the message can travel faster. White people may not be directly affected by police brutality, but it affects those that they care about, thus they speak up. It is important to pay attention to all current events and keep this level of empathy for all political actions that don’t directly affect you. When everyone speaks up at once, change is made.
3. Elections matter
Elections are vital in the United States. Too many young people do not exercise the right to vote, even though they have to power to sway entire elections. By paying attention to current events, you not only become exposed to the things the government is doing, which in and of itself is encouraging to vote, but it makes you a more informed voter. Too many people make their decisions in elections based off false information. By staying informed, you are empowered to make the decision to vote for who you think is best to lead the local, state or national government. Without paying attention to current events, not only will you be less informed, you not be as empowered to vote in the first place. Overall, staying informed is imperative to increasing the quantity of the voting population and the quality of the voting population. Again, young people too often forsake their right to vote, even though they can make their voice heard and change the things they see wrong with this country. Elections matter, and staying informed makes elections effective.
4. Current events expose you to uncomfortable information
Everyone, whether they admit it or not, struggles with cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance basically means that you only seek the information that will confirm and uphold you personal view of a certain issue. The problem with this is that it prevents the truth or reality of a situation to be uncovered. Getting your news from only social media worsens this issue because the very nature of the algorithm is trained to give you information you are already prone to “liking”. Thus, social media will not expose you to information that forces you to change or confront your views, but will only confirm them at the expense of the reality of a situation. The remedy to this is to keep up to date on current events from non-biased sources. This will expose you to information that may not be comfortable, but necessary to expose you to reality. Overall, it is vital to be exposed to uncomfortable information so that you can question you beliefs based on reality rather than a false truth social media presents to you. This makes you a more useful member of the marketplace of ideas, where you can have conversations based on the reality of a situation rather than a falsity.
5. Staying informed makes you a better citizen
Finally, staying informed will make you an overall better citizen. Being a citizen means to do things to help the community, which may not always be comfortable. Going to back to the last point, you must be open to uncomfortable information that challenges what you already believe. This will make you more informed and better equipped to have meaningful conversations with those who don’t agree with you. This will also a make a better citizen because it makes a better voter. Voting is an essential civic duty that directly affects those in power. By having reliable information, you are more likely to make an intelligent decision with your vote that will better the overall well-being of a society. Being a good citizen also means you speak up for those who aren’t being heard, and when presented with information that showcases the lack of representation of a group of people, you will know when and how to speak up for their cause and kick-start real change. Overall, staying informed is vital to being an overall good citizen. Being a good citizen will allow greater well-being for the total population and create a more harmonious society. It is your responsibility to be informed and doing so not only betters you but also betters society.