Most of us have a political or social opinion. Many of us don't vote or participate in our government. All of us in this country have benefited in some way from the privileges of being in America. If you think that politics doesn't affect you, you are sorely mistaken. It affects each and every one of us. I believe that if everyone one of us stepped it up a notch in terms of civic and political involvement, this country would be a better place. That means if you aren't registered to vote, if you don't usually vote, if you have never called your representatives, if you have never marched or protested, NOW IS THE TIME!
In an effort to remind myself of how I want to move forward in difficult times, here is my top 7 list for stepping up:
In every election, no excuses. Those who came before us fought long and hard for this right, and many people in the world do not have this privilege. Don't take it for granted.
Our representatives are there to do just that: represent. Whether you voted for them or not, they still have an obligation to do their job. If enough constituents consistently call and write their elected officials, we can make a difference.
Get involved in campaigning for a candidate, whether at the local, state, or federal level. Become an election judge if you are able. Volunteer for organizations that lobby for the causes that are most important to you.
Do your homework. This means not relying on just one source for information. This also means taking the time to educate yourself on what bills are being voted on in congress and where your representatives stand on those issues.
- SPEAK UP
We all have a voice...make it heard. It's ok to stand up for what you believe in, even when it is not comfortable to do so. Learning to use your voice, especially when people assume you agree with them and you don't, is so important.
If you are able, donate money to your favorite candidate, charity, or social organization. Whether we like it or not, money talks.
Protest and march for those causes that matter to you. And then protest and march again for those causes that matter to your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens. We need to support one another to make real change.
Someone said to me recently that it feels like a full time job to stay on top of politics right now. It isn't convenient. But many of us have taken for granted how easy it has been to be an American for far too long. There is such a thing as civic duty. It's time for each and every one of us to step it up a notch.