The word politics comes from the Greek word polis which means city or state and is close in meaning to the Latin res publica which became a republic. To be political is to be actively interested engaged and involved as a citizen in fulfilling public duty and service including debating with other citizens and using the vote and in fulfilling the responsibilities of being a citizen like a jury and military service and paying taxes when asked to do so.
For the ancient Greeks, a citizen who was not doing this was diminished to the role of a private individual for which the Greek word is an Idiot. Try reading Thucydides especially on Pericles funeral oration
What Does Political Mean?
Aristotle said that humans are “political animals” Everyone is political for action or inaction. There is no way to escape politics. If you work in a political party you seem to be more political or if you are interested in politics by reading about it. Those who are not interested and do anything else or ignore politics actually are political in the sense that let others do whatever with politics.
Politics is all around us: the system where we live, the laws we follow, the frontiers, the people in government, etc. they are there and make the rules for everyone and they affect us even when we choose to not engage. In short, if you are not in politics or you are, you are political anyway.
It means both thinking and acting politically. Thinking about the state of our /your society and looking for reasonable and sustainable solutions to its problems, recognizing what is good and can be improved everywhere.
You don’t have to be necessarily active in a party or in a publicly effective or proactive group ( this too is politics), but participate in the current events as zoon political (political animal) by being sensitive to your environment. It also means, by being well-informed building, holding an opinion and standing up for it and expressing in a discussion or debate.
It means putting things within the context of the power structure currently at play. Politics is “who gets what and why” (Professor Pradeep Chhibber) and so being “political” applies more broadly than just bringing up how X affects the next election or X’s effects on public policy based on your partisan or value perspectives. It also applies to action o speech that brings to mind or attempts to influence non-governmental situations, e.g. “office politics”, “high school popularity”, and other formal or informal power structures.