The election may be over, but the wheels of Washington are still turning. If you’ve been inspired by recent events to be more politically active and socially aware, here are just six ways to turn your thoughts into actions.
1. Find Your Causes
You’re most effective when you devote yourself to a small handful of causes and campaigns. If you try to stretch yourself too thin, you run the risk of burning yourself out or accidentally neglecting one of the many duties on your plate. Instead of throwing yourself into the issues of poverty, medicine, climate change, foreign aid and childhood literacy, serve only the 2-4 causes that are closest to your heart. You can always rotate your focus after awhile if you need a change.
2. Attend Local Meetings
Who’s on the school board? Who runs the city council? Do you know and trust these people to represent your interests? Before you start trying to affect change on a national level, see what kind of an impact that you can make on local politics. If nothing else, you’ll learn how to cut your teeth on things like votes, minutes, agendas and call-ins.
3. Stay Informed
You’ll need to know what you’re marching for before you put your boots on. You’ll also need to know who to contact if you want to voice your support or condemnation for a particular issue. If you’re unaware of events like, say, Mike Crapo becoming a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, what’s going to happen when you actually need to contact the committee? Whether it’s a Crapo appointment or someone else’s election, promotion or resignation, it’s important to stay in the loop.
4. Pound the Pavement
Speaking of marches, they’re just one of the ways that you can get off the couch and get something done. Between rallies, marathons, fundraisers and protests, you can take to the streets and make your voice heard. If you aren’t quite ready for such a proactive step, you can also stay behind the scenes and help with things like set-up and labor organization. If nothing else, you can promote the event on social media and raise awareness for times and dates.
5. Join Groups of Like-Minded People
Maybe it’s a voting league. Maybe it’s a coalition or advocacy group dedicated to your favorite cause. Maybe it’s just the PTA for your school district! There are hundreds of organizations out there that will gladly welcome your support, so don’t be afraid to reach out with your time, money and volunteer spirit. One voice can make all the difference in a group.
6. Get Multiple Viewpoints
Last but certainly not least, you’ll never broaden your horizons if you stay in an echo chamber of your ideas and opinions. Don’t get all of your news from the same people on social media, and don’t check the same blogs and political forums every day. Branch out and read articles, newsletters and press releases even from publications that you hate. You might be surprised to find yourself agreeing with them sometimes.
These are just a few ways to become more politically active. No matter what your party or belief system, it’s important to stand up for what you believe in, and these methods will ensure that you make your voice heard.