As I see my Facebook friends debate over politics and share in the concern for our country's liberties, rights, and stability, all I keep asking myself is, "what can one person do?" I honestly want to know what I can do personally to make a difference in my country and change things for the better. I don't want our civil liberties removed. I don't want to change the constitution that was drafted by amazing American's who were much smarter and educated than I am (and much smarter than today's politicians). These men came from a country that was in tyranny and they knew firsthand what happened when rights were removed and liberties were withheld. They knew it and they planned a constitution that protected the people from the government.
Why in the world are we letting our government remove rights that were intended to protect Americans from the government?
|Bill of Rights Via Archive.org|
Register to Vote
I know this is basic, but I truly believe that there are many people who are not registered to vote. With my husband's job, I move around a lot and do not always take the time to register in my new state. I should! Always! So should you. Contact your local court house and get registered to vote. Each vote makes a difference, one election at a time.
USA.gov Information on Registering to Vote
Become an Advocate
As citizens in the United States of America, we have the power to influence our government for the better. Becoming an Advocate involves educating local and federal legislature on specific needs that affect citizens in their districts and communities. Here is the difference between advocacy and lobbying: :Lobbying is about directly influencing the local and federal legislature and encouraging them to pass specific bills, while Advocacy is about educating and showing the needs of the community and their constituents. If you choose to become an advocate check out the PDF below written by the Psoriasis Action Network. It lays out the steps that a bill takes in the congress and senate and shows how advocates can work for change along the way. Wonderful resource.
"In short, if it has to do with specific legislation, it's lobbying. If it doesn't, it's advocacy." - Common Sense Media: Advocate or Lobbyist?
Example: For Psoriasis Research - How Be An Advocate
Stage a Social Protest
1. Choose a specific topic to protest. Keeping your topic focused makes your efforts worthwhile and allows people to join in knowing what the protest is working towards. Be clear, precise, and know why you are doing what you are doing. Ask for what you want; know what you want to achieve.
2. Research the topic thoroughly before proceeding. Know everything there is to know about this topic that you are choosing to demonstrate the need for change by a protest. Find dependable resources that confirm you are supporting a justified need for change. Locate newspaper articles, books, online credible resources, and talk to local officials before you move forward. Choose to educate yourself before staging your protest. Only truth will further your cause, one false fact can destroy the integrity of the protest.
3. Gather others to your cause. If you sit with a sign at your local courthouse, you may raise a few eyebrows, but you won't demonstrate a united front that demands a change. Find friends, family, co-workers, and others around you who agree with your cause and are willing to stand with you to show others that they also see the need for a change. Depending on the size of your protest, find a small group to delegate tasks to in order to keep the protest organized and running smoothly.
4. Pick a location where you will be seen and your cause will be heard. If you are protesting the passing of a bill, go to the county courthouse. If you are protesting a business that holds to poor business practices, go to the front of the business. You need to be off private property so be sure that your group knows to stay on the street or sidewalk.
5. Talk to the local police to discuss the legality of your proceedings. To stage a protest in some areas you may need to have a permit to protest. Consider local laws when organizing your protest and educate yourself to uphold the law.
6. Choose a date and time for your social protest. Make sure to leave enough time for others to join your protest. Advertise your protest in advance! Use social networking to boost the awareness for your cause and your protest. Begin a Facebook page, a blog, a twitter account just for this cause. Use them to give information on the protest and the change that you are working towards. Do not let them become a free for all for bashing the government, a local business, or another entity. This is not helpful and will discredit your endeavors. You may even want to notify the local newspapers, radio stations, and news stations to encourage their reporting on your event.
7. Educate your social protest group in advance. Let them know where it is okay to stand, where to park, what the protest is demonstrating, and encourage them to maintain a peaceful yet obvious protest. Suggest ideas for signs, posters, and create a printable PDF that can be printed out by protesters in advance to hand out during the protest. Find a local printer who supports your cause, they may even volunteer to make signs, flyers, and pamphlets for free. Remember to pull out your cell phones to take pictures and video the day’s events, encourage your protesters to do the same thing.
8. Meet at the location on the appointed day before the appointed time. As the protest organizer, people will be looking to you to guide them on the day of the social protest. Be professional, be organized, and continue to educate your protesters on the cause as well as those who come to witness the protest. Some will support your cause, some will likely disagree . . . quite harshly. Encourage your protesters to remain calm and to not respond to those who disagree in harsh ways. You set the tone for the protest, make it a protest that none will forget and further your cause!
9. Prepare a next step to your protest. Your cause is not complete, so why stop there? Consider putting together a petition to urge people to listen. Be sure to raise awareness for your Facebook page, blog, or Twitter in order to keep people aware of your ongoing efforts. Keep supporting your cause until you get heard. Many protests do not make a mark because after one event, they go home and forget it ever happened. Don't forget and remind others that the cause still needs to be heard.
Wikihow: How to Stage a Social Protest
Juliette Speaks: How to Stage a Protest or Rally
Join With Others
Maybe you aren't the type to stage a protest. You can still make a difference by following those who are working towards a big change. For instance, many feel that establishing a third party would radically change America for the better. Why only have the choice between two pompous politicians whose wallets are padded by those who wish to further their own agendas not the agendas of the whole of American? The solution? A third party or for that matter a fourth party and a fifth. Why limit the ballot to three good men or four? Let's get real Americans into the government! Real men or women with real jobs and not a whole lot of money. Or what about a group that is working towards legislation to stop politicians from receiving money and rewards for voting a certain way? I was taught that receiving money in exchange for an influenced vote is bribery. Let's stop accepting legalized bribery of our politicians! Join with others and make a difference for your cause.
Forbes.com: Corruption, American Style
Have a cause? Do you want to add to my list? If I am not a proponent for your cause, I will not add it to the blog, but I will leave it in the comments below. I'd be happy to have a long list of parties and causes that will encourage American's jump up and make a difference. We must make a difference before it's too late.