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Start on level one

When you think about politics, try to visualize it as one GIANT video game.

When you think about politics, try to visualize it as one GIANT video game.

August 22, 2006|by ALAN SOKOL

Note to teenagers: The world of politics doesn't have to be complicated. Yes, I realize that most of you don't care much about politics and are more interested in the most advanced gaming system or the latest music downloads. But politics is what influences things like gasoline prices, taxes taken out of your paycheck, college tuition and funding for public schools.

Yes, politics can seem complicated from the outside, and it can be boring when you listen to some presidential debate droning on and on. But that's because you're trying to listen on too high a gaming level.

When you think about politics, try to visualize it as one giant video game. To someone who doesn't understand games - perhaps your parents - gaming looks like nothing more than moving a joystick and blowing things up on a screen.

Politics is the same way. On a large scale, it appears to be nothing more than complicated maneuvers with stuff actually blowing up.

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However, to understand politics,teens should start on "level one." Talk to local politicians. Find out who's in charge. Every city has some kind of city council or mayor who might talk to you about what they do and things they're accomplishing. After you've found out some cool stuff, tell them what your concerns are. When you find a politician you like, volunteer to help him or her in a re-election campaign, and then move on to the next level. That, after all, is the politicians' game.

After advancing through some "political levels," things will start to make sense and you can play with ease. And there are, in fact, "cheats" that you can use to help you: your parents (I mean that in the best way possible). Ask your parents about political issues that affect the family. They've been playing the political game for years now, so why not use their political gaming skills once in a while?

So, don't let politics intimidate you. Just think of it as a big video game and then everything will become clear. Who's to say? Maybe you could be the next big political figure and I'll interview you on my podcast, Alan's Yak, at antpod.com.

It could happen.

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