Perhaps at no moment has an understanding of civics been more important. But the signs are not good. Americans don't know how government functions or their role within it. This lack of knowledge is a reflection of inadequate political socialization, which is the process by which individuals learn about and internalize political values, attitudes, and behaviors.
Gathering but also understanding political viewpoints must be holistic and not be based on a singular source or perspective. It is crucial to expose oneself to a diverse range of opinions and to critically analyze the information received. Political socialization should not be limited to formal education but should extend to family, friends, and the media.
Barbara A. Presnall, Ph.D., is a professor of political science who teaches courses on Congress, the presidency, women and politics, and more. She emphasizes the significance of political socialization in creating informed and engaged citizens who actively participate in the democratic process. By understanding the workings of Congress, individuals can effectively exercise their rights and hold elected officials accountable.