Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Believe in the American System of Government

I believe in the democratic process in general and believe it can and does work in the American government. I believe it is a system that can work. Call me naive or uninformed; it's okay with me.

The political system in the United States may be hobbling on a bad leg these days, but it is yet fixable. First of all, people who are eligible to vote need to do so. Few nations have as poor a voter turn-out as America does. Voting is a right, but its also a privilege not afforded to some citizens in other parts of the world.

Women and people of color, I would think, would fill voting booths in droves. These groups are the ones who most recently gained the right to vote. Put it to good use.

In addition to using your voting power, contact your elected officials once they are in office. Use the phone, email, or the good ole United States Postal Services to mail a letter -- it doesn't matter which form you use -- just keep your representatives apprised of your views on issues.

Stay abreast of current issues or pending legislation. Voice whatever your views are in a courteous and matter-of-fact manner. Rants aren't likely to be taken as seriously as well-thought-out reasoning. Even when you agree with the way an elected official is doing something, take a moment to say so to him/her. Positive messages are as important as dissenting or negative messages.

For some reason, presidential elections have a better voter turn-out than more locally-based elections. No doubt the media hoopla for a least 12 months preceding a presidential election spurs voters to action, but the truth is, local elections affect your life in more upfront and personal ways. Don't discount their importance.

In summation, it doesn't matter what your politics are -- or if you have any at all. As a citizen with voting privileges it is your duty to make this democracy work -- as much, if not more, than the elected officials.

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