America, the...Confused?

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For those of you who know me, I'm a political junkie. I mean, I went to school for journalism and political science, so how could I not be, even if I tried? Recently, we've reached a crossroads in our political system, and now is a more important time than ever for everyone to be informed. However, with so much going on in politics right now, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up. Even if you can keep up, it can be hard to understand the nuances. Special elections. Net neutrality. Collusion with Russia. Tax reform. What does all of this really mean? How does it affect us? Whether you want to start following politics, but have no idea where to begin, or maybe you understand the basics, but want the political jargon demystified, here are some great resources to help you get your head around the political issues currently happening. 

"The Rachel Maddow Show"
Watching "The Rachel Maddow Show" is a great place to get started, especially if you're more of a visual learner. Even if you have absolutely no idea what's going on, just dive in and you'll soon understand. She breaks down current events into easy-to-digest language, and often has experts in their field on her show, breaking situations down even further. It's kind of like your really awesome, unbelievably intelligent, down-to-earth friend is giving you a lesson in politics. She's perfect.

"Real Time with Bill Maher"
With all of the insanity in the world, sometimes you need a side dish of wit with your politics. Enter Bill Maher. Yes, he is a controversial figure. Yes, he pushes, and sometimes goes over, boundaries. But he's funny, smart, and always has a diverse group of panelists on his show. The debates can get heated, but when the show is over, you'll understand things a bit more than when it started. Maybe you'll even laugh.

The NPR Politics Podcast
Quick, and straight to the point, you'll get a daily roundup of news in about 30 minutes (or faster if you're a 1.5x-er like I am). While this might not get into the nitty-gritty details, listening to this daily will leave you feeling knowledgeable and empowered. Too busy to listen to the daily episodes? Tune into their Weekly Roundups once a week, lasting about 45 minutes.

Twitter
Twitter is a great way to get short but important updates about politics throughout the day. Use this platform to your advantage. Of course there are idiots, but there are also incredibly intelligent individuals who can supply important information in less than 280 characters. Some of my favorites are:

  1. Steve Kornacki- A national political correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. You'll see him on "The Rachel Maddow Show" a lot.
  2. Shaun King- A civil rights activist, writer and political commentator. His tweets are insightful and encourage people to challenge their leadership and advocate for change. 
  3. Renato Mariotti- Former federal prosecutor and candidate for Illinois Attorney General. His legal expertise is often called upon on many news outlets, both liberal and conservative.

Tell me if there's anyone you watch or follow who you think makes all of the things going on in the world a little easier to swallow.