‘Musings’: Making Yourself Matter, Part 2

Last week, we touched on some initial ways to get more personally involved in the field of politics. Now, let’s talk about the deeper, ongoing commitments:

Do your homework. There’s a lot of information out there that can help you reach your goals. Are you trying to influence your city council or mayor about an issue? Look through their donor history and see if you spot any names you think agree with you about your issue.

It’s not just about politicians. Take a look at who voted in the last election (a matter of public record), and make sure that your friends and neighbors vote this time. What about laws and legislation? For state and federal, it’s just a click away. Otherwise, check your city website.

Join. Politics is a numbers game. One voter who cares intensely about an issue is only one voter. A group of voters gets attention. Join a local political party or issue group and grow your network. Get to know fellow members. You may find they are passionate about other issues you also want to engage on. In many contexts, less is more. Not in politics.

Obviously.

In the digital age, getting involved is easier than ever. But beyond simply tossing a Like at your local party or signing up for an e-newsletter, boots on the ground still make all the difference. Whether you want to be a leader or just show your support, it’s critical to keep up with the calendars and attend.

Organize. Sounds like a lot of work, right? You have a full-time job, a family, and responsibilities! How are you supposed to be an organizer on top of that? It’s not as hard as you think. Pick the issue you care most about. Do you know 5 people who care about the issue?  

Put out some feelers. Invite them to break some bread and talk about how you can work together. Then each of you commit to bring one more person next time you meet. Now you have 12. Do it again, you have 24. In many places, that’s a 4-alarm fire for an elected official.

Prioritize Contacts. Personal meetings have more impact than phone calls. Phone calls have more impact than emails. Whether you’re organizing a group to take action or contacting a policy maker, make sure you are using the most effective method of contact that is feasible. Chances are you can’t afford to spend $50,000 on a TV commercial (if you can, have we got the deal for you). You can afford to make a phone call, or attend an elected official’s coffee hour, or ask questions at a city council meeting.

These are just a few of the effective ways to become a contributing member to the political discourse. Take the above as a guide, but ultimately, your method should be all about weighing your passions and determining a sensible approach. For further questions: our doors are always open.

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