Politics is Citizenship​

I grew up hearing the phrase: “When it comes to politics and religion, we don’t argue about it”, and for a long time in my life, I believed that politics was something that wasn’t supposed to be argued or questioned. Things were the way they were and that was how things worked.

My first memories about politics are seeing the candidates on television in Brazil.  I would listen to them talk for 1 minute and laugh at the fact that the guy that sold popcorn in front of my school was now running for an office in the Congress. Politics for me was suddenly seeing people riding the public system, walking in my neighborhood streets, or going to public hospital, only to never see them again. Well, not never. I would see them again, 4 years later. I had the opportunity to travel a lot, I’ve been to different countries and what I most like to observe is how “things worked” in each of those countries.

But my real interest in politics came with my love for Venezuela. I confess, when I was little I was a huge fan of Che Guevara, socialism and the left party; but in my defense my family is what we call Esquerdista (or left-wing, in English). Venezuela was our family vacation destination, I love the fact that we could go there and buy gas with pennies. My last trip there, I remember seeing kids working on the streets to make ends meet and signs on the supermarket saying that buying more than five personal hygiene products wasn’t allowed. Things were starting to get bad. I realized after that trip how important politics is.

Brazil, at that time was run by a socialist party. Like in Venezuela, the country was heading toward a destructive path and we as citizens were complete unaware of it. You may or may not know what have happened to Venezuela and the situation they are currently in. It takes struggles to create awakening. Different from Brazil, voting is not mandatary. The country isn’t facing economic problems and even though you are a low-income citizen, you still have a lot. However, like Brazil, people think that politics has nothing to do with them. “They don’t do things for the young”, “I am illegal, so I don’t vote”, “I don’t understand”, “It is boring”.

I learned that politics is the change that I want to see and the attitudes that I am willing to have. Politics is a way for us, as citizens, to reinvent or create the way that things work. When we have power, we make the changes, we are in control. The only thing that we need to do is vote. We need to change from a culture of letting other decide what impacts our future.


Leanne Souza

SPLC on Campus@AUM - Vice President