If you had to guess, what would you say is the number-one thing that annoys me on Facebook? Some of you guessed duck-faced selfies, or maybe photos of someone’s lunch, or perhaps it’s right-wing conservative posts with no factual foundations whatsoever. All of those are certainly contenders. But no… they aren’t at the top of the list.

The most obnoxious thing I see on Facebook is a person claiming politics shouldn’t be open for debate on social media, or that they don’t want to see political discussions on their wall. I mean, it’s right there in the title, folks… you probably should’ve seen this coming!

Let’s not mince words here: the people who claim they “aren’t political” or “don’t care for politics” are just about the most dangerous people in America. They’re more likely to kill you than terrorists, though indirectly. And before you chalk that up as an almost absurd degree of hyperbole, which it certainly does sound like, just keep on reading.

A Day In The Life

Here’s something many Americans — most, actually — don’t seem to realize: politics is something that affects literally every facet of your life, in this or any other civilized country on Earth. The decisions politicians make are ones that directly influence every tiny detail of your daily existence, and until you stop to think about it, you most likely won’t come to appreciate it.

You wake up in the morning to an alarm clock certified by the FCC, powered by electricity regulated, if not managed, by your local or state government. If you live in a city, you take a shower each morning with government-facilitated water. You put on clothes made in either regulated factories, or imported as a part of a trade deal. You eat a breakfast inspected and certified by the FDA. You utilize a government driver’s license to operate your registered, inspected motor vehicle. You go to a job where government regulations dictate your working conditions and guarantee you any number of protections. And all of that is just what happens while you’re starting your day.

I think you get the point. The government is literally everywhere, in every minute facet of your daily life. And no, that’s not a bad thing: you want the government keeping your air breathable, keeping your trash being collected, keeping foreign armies from invading. Popular culture loves to make government look like the bad guys, but truth be told, none of us would want to live in a world without any government at all. If you think I’m wrong, go watch any Mad Max movie.

Political Stuff Matters

There are people making all of these decisions that have such dire consequences for you. People who determine whether that pothole gets filled, or if that egg gets inspected, or if your place of employment meets fire codes. They decide how low or high your taxes are, and more importantly, what those taxes pay for.

They’re politicians, and don’t worry about that taste of throw-up in the back of your throat. It’s perfectly understandable… most (but certainly not all) politicians are human filth. But trust me: the more you learn about politics, the less often that horrible taste will show up.

Some of you may have said that you don’t vote, because you don’t believe your vote matters. Well, it does, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The electoral college is confusing, of course, and yes, it is prone to some rather excessive corruption, especially during party primaries. But your vote absolutely does count, and more people voting means corruption is less likely.

The Threat Of Inaction

Okay, you’re probably still wondering why I said earlier that people who don’t get involved in politics are more dangerous than terrorists. Even after stressing how politics permeates literally every inch of your daily lives, that statement probably still sounds rather outlandish, right? Well… it’s not.

Here’s a fact you’d probably rather not think about: we’re all just two or three bites into a burrito away from certain death. The FDA makes sure that doesn’t happen (or at least, they try to), but some politicians actually want to do away with the FDA. Sounds nuts, right? Well, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s definitely true.

The EPA keeps our water and air clean. Planned Parenthood provides vital healthcare to 4.6 million people every single year (and no, we aren’t talking about abortions). The Department of Education works year-round to ensure American kids get a better education, while also dishing out grants and loan assistance each year to millions upon millions of college students.

All of those government agencies have something in common: they’re all at risk of being defunded and absolved by politicians. We’re not kidding. There are politicians who feel the FDA is burdensome, that the EPA is pointless, that the Department of Education doesn’t help anyone. And guess what? If you don’t take politics seriously, learn everything you can, and vote, those politicians are going to win, and they’re going to destroy those things. And whose fault will it be? Well, the politicians, of course… but also yours, because you chose not to get involved.

By not learning about politics and voting, you’re essentially standing in a fast food joint, and when an armed gunman shows up to rob the place and points a gun at you, you nonchalantly inform him that he wants the guy behind the counter. And by the way, that’s something one presidential candidate, Ben Carson, has actually done.

So by not getting involved, by not getting informed, by not voting, yes, you’re endangering people. Yes, you’re making each bite of that aforementioned burrito that much more dangerous. And yes, you’re responsible when one of these nitwit politicians guts the EPA, or strips millions of Americans of their healthcare, or starts a war with Iran that leads to tens of thousands of American deaths. By not involving yourself, all of that is partially on you.

It Isn’t Much To Ask

Getting involved in politics is painless, and doesn’t take much effort. Google whose running for each office, then look up those candidates. Learn what they believe, what they stand for, what they hope to accomplish, and do it all from reputable sources. If the site you’re looking at is attacking them or praising them, find a better site. This isn’t rocket science, people.

And for the love of God, don’t vote for a candidate because you think you’d want to have a beer with them, because you never, ever will. Don’t vote for them because you like their family, because their family aren’t the ones making decisions that affect your life. And don’t vote for someone because you heard bad things about their opponent, either, not unless you’ve also heard an equal number of good things.

If you devote an hour or two a week to politics, guess what? You actually can make a difference, however lame that sounds. And if the candidate you vote for loses, or if you vote for someone who turns out to be a douche, hey, at least you put in the effort, right? At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. And if you do anything less, well, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic yet again… the terrorists win.

Photo by Vox Efx  H/T to Judy Pokras for requesting this article