Political Apathy and the Global Citizen?

I love being a Global Citizen. I love travelling, meeting new people, being a bit vague about my story because it is so damn complicated and if I have to tell someone I’m half-Dutch half-Taiwanese and explain my American accent ONE MORE TIME…

 

I believe that through my confrontation with so many cultures over my lifetime that I am quite an empathetic person. It’s easy for me to step into someone else’s shoes, consider their thought processes and thinking. I don’t always agree with their point of view, but I can usually see why they are the way they are. This makes me quite the liberal. I believe in universal health care, voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights… you name it. I’m also extra-sensitive when it comes to race, having experienced both positive and negative racism regularly (and still regularly do). 

The only thing is … all this country-hopping and trying to understand different political climates has made me a little… numb. Some big things still affect me, yes. Brexit affected me so much I felt I had to leave the UK… But on a larger scale, things just don’t affect me anymore. Sure, I vote through postal votes in the Dutch election and if it works out I go back to Taiwan to vote in the presidential election but when it comes to the country I’m living in and their political issues? I play the foreigner card and shrug my shoulders. I don’t get a vote, I don’t get a say, right?

I don’t want to get overly involved anymore. While I was essentially laying down roots in the UK, I didn’t want to get overly involved in its politics. I feel like that is where I always pointedly felt like an outsider, and that reinforcement was just not a reminder I needed or wanted. That lack of interest found its way into other parts of my political thought and action… when I was in Denmark, my heart broke for the refugees we regularly saw at Copenhagen Central station, but I couldn’t get angry anymore at the Danish government. Whenever videos now show up on my news feed of Taiwanese law-makers throwing shoes and chairs at each other, I just sigh in disappointment like a mother does her 12 year old child. Now, in Australia, I don’t get worked up that the government is fighting so hard against same sex marriage. Like, whatever.

I’ve come to find that it’s much more important to have the people around me walk to the talk and live up to what they preach than trying to change the hearts and minds of others. It’s not my job, because I’m not permanent. It’s actually a bit of a ‘get out of jail free card’ I suppose, but is that so bad? My energy gets thrown into other things, other causes, and other battles. A wise teacher once said, “We all need to choose our causes and our battles. For some it will be the environment, for others human rights, for some even something seemingly small to others…” There are battles all over that need to be fought, and despite my avid interest in it, the battle of political landscapes are not one that I’m going to get myself into.

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