You are sitting at home seething at the news on your computer or television, and you want to do something about it. You don’t like the way the country is going. What should you do?
Run for Office
The most obvious choice for those of a certain age is to run for elected office oneself. Assuming you meet the age and residency requirements, a person has to go to their local election board and find out what your state requires of a political candidate to run for office. For some states, a candidate has to go door-to-door having registered voters sign petitions saying they would consider voting for you, and in other states, all you need to do is pass a background check. A local office usually has a lower threshold for petitions than a state or national office. With the current makeup of the courts, many vital laws are going to be decided by the states and local municipalities, so being on the ground locally will increase your influence.
The significant negative of running for office is the time and money commitment. Running for office is not cheap, and while filing the paperwork to run for office isn’t usually prohibitively expensive, running a campaign can be. One can generally knock on doors for a local office and get to know their constituents personally before COVID. Now many politicians are hosting zoom forums to hear from their constituents. The person running for state or federal office needs money and access to spaces. To do this, you need money. And to get money, a person seeking office needs to spend a lot of time meeting donors and going to events. If you have the time and will to work your butt off, these offices reap large rewards when trying to make a social change.
Join a Political Group or Think Tank
You don’t meet the age or residency requirements, but you still think you can make a change. Join a large-scale political organization or think tank. These organizations lead the charge in influencing politicians using lobbyists, political commercials, and print and tv advertisements for their organization. These organizations need volunteers and workers in local communities to spread their messages to people on the ground. Having local volunteers and workers is how Planned Parenthood of America mobilized protests so quickly after the leaked Alito decision.
Register People to Vote
If you don’t want to get involved in a particular organization but want to make a difference, then registering people to vote is a great way to make a difference. The 2020 election had the largest voter turnout in the last fifty years. But that number was just over half of the eligible voters in this country. Two years later, more voters are now old enough to vote. Registering more people to vote and encouraging them to vote in primary elections and primary causes will make sure the candidates willing to work towards your interest are most likely to be elected.
Register to vote and vote in every election, even primary elections, if you are of age. Local elections are more important than ever before. If you feel comfortable, register to be an election official. Your job would be to work at the polls and help others vote. Make sure you vote in the primaries if you’re upset with your choices in November; it’s because such a small percentage of voters vote during the primary elections.
Encourage others to Vote
If you aren’t of age, remember encouraging your friends, family, and community to vote is essential. Your encouragement or nagging could be the difference in a local election. Many local races are won or lost by less than 100 votes. Every vote matters, and make sure those in your life know that.
These actions are just some of the ways you can make a difference when it comes to an issue that is important to you. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.