I get it. Today’s political climate is frustrating. We look at our TV and phone screens only to sigh and roll our eyes at what seems like a never-ending damage report of news in our country and in our politics.
Some of us have felt the toxins of American politics seep into our brains and kill any hope we had left in society for a while now. People don’t want to be involved in this, and it’s understandable.
But, what if I told you that you could make a change in politics? I know you’ve seen the signs for local candidates on the highway while you’re on the way to work or school. These candidates are running to represent you locally. I understand that 2020 is the year that most of us are looking forward to. However, there is work to be done now. Chances are, these candidates are running for a reason. They’re probably just as, if not more, frustrated in today’s political climate.
With that said, I encourage you to get involved with those local candidates. There are several beauties of campaign involvement, but here are (what I believe to be) the best reasons to get involved.
Meet the Candidate (and their team)
One of the reasons I frequently hear as to why people don’t vote or get involved nationally is because the candidates can seem disingenuine. It looks as if they’re only running for their political gain, painting them as shallow. That’s understandable, but definitely not an excuse for not voting. However, when you have access to someone who wants to make the decisions for the city you live and work in, or for the schools your children learn in, there’s really no excuse to perpetuate or tolerate an ignorance of local candidates.
That taco restaurant you go to all the time? Guess what? You’re next congressman or woman holds their meet and greets there. Go and enjoy food, and ask what they plan to do with your tax dollars. Getting to meet the candidate in person can erase your negative bias about what you see on a national level. Furthermore, a member of the campaign team is almost guaranteed to be there. Get in contact with the Campaign Manager, the Field Director, or even the Social Media Coordinator. See what the next steps for the campaign are, and see where’d you fit.
Campaigns can be nervewracking, and that is well understood. However, remember, though the comfort zone is a beautiful place, nothing will ever grow there.
You Will Fall in Love with Your Community
As previously alluded to, politics is not always pretty. Every campaign has an opposition who will consistently go low when you and your campaign are so focused on going high. Getting involved with local politics and campaigns, even at a minimum, makes you love your community even more. You start to see the city, county, or district through the eyes of the candidate. You will see the love and compassion for potential constituents, even the ones that will hang up on you during your phone banks, and the folks that slam the door in your face while block walking. You will knock on doors in neighborhoods you never knew existed, and call voters with a completely different background than you. That’s the beauty of it, getting to see a different part of your community and talk to different people in your area.
When I started getting involved in local elections, I didn’t know what to expect exactly. I was only 16 at the time, and I thought that no one would take a 16-year-old’s political opinion seriously. I was wrong. People do, and my enthusiasm gave hope to the people around me who were so close to losing it. Even if you’re not young, a fresh attitude in the campaign or local party is refreshing and inspiring for those who have been there for a while.
Working and volunteering for local campaigns let me tap into local talent, local charities, and some of the best food I’ve ever had. Furthermore, I realized I was an important part of where I lived, and that these candidates wanted to represent me to be able to remind me of that sentiment.
To remind you of something quite vital, you’re a taxpayer. Make your opinion heard through the candidates who are willing to listen.
Change doesn’t happen with just a retweet or shared Facebook post. It doesn’t happen without game-changers. The political turmoil we’re in is a direct consequence of our inaction. Get to the polls. Get to the meet and greets. Get to the table with the game-changers and pull up a chair.
See you there.