Real political activism and civic engagement is paramount to defending liberty and restoring the Constitution. We are at a critical time in our nation’s history where we must choose to re-engage in public affairs or to lose our liberties forever. As Americans become less involved in their local communities, power is shifting away from the hands of the people and into the federal government and elusive bureaucracies.
As Plato put it: “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
In order to repair our social and political landscape, conservatives need to become really, really good at promoting key causes and helping others to do the same. This is a process of stepping away from social media banter and plunging head first into what we call real political engagement.
Many Americans have never been actively involved in local government or political organizations before and it can be difficult and confusing to get started. The following guide will describe the process and opportunities for creating change in your community and making America a better place for all.
It’s also critical that you educate yourself. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful tool for which you can use to change the world.” Studies show that most Americans score very low in knowledgeability regarding the founding of America, the Constitution, government processes, current laws, and even who their elected officials are. The more you educate yourself on these, and the issues you choose to advocate for, the more effective you will be.
This is arguably the most important and effective way of creating change in our community, state, and nation.
Frederick Douglas, the social reformer, orator, writer, and former African American slave, wisely stated: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” In order to create that demand, it’s essential that we become united in our efforts to create real change.
There are innumerable organizations in America seeking to defend our freedoms and promote positive ideals. However, unfortunately, many of these organizations are small and scattered. Rather than starting a new organization or petition, it’s important to do your research and find out what movements and groups in your area are already working towards the same goals! Chances are you’ll find one with a head start in influencing change in your community.
This is the primary goal of the Freedom Action Center and the purpose behind our Directory–to help organizations and citizens alike “connect, unite, and win”. As Fredrick Douglas said, it takes demand, or numbers, to influence reform.
Civic organizations used to dominate the American political and social landscape. Speaking of the book “Democracy in America” and of society in the 1800s, Don Eberly wrote: “Civil society captured nearly all forms of human endeavors—intellectual, moral, social, religious, and … economic. Civic functions overlapped sometimes with political, and even those purely civic activities served to cultivate democratic habits and skills…. Local civic associations put democracy within people’s reach, inculcating the customs and many uses of democratic process.” Rather than relying on the Federal government to force change through legislation, courageous and organized activists, can rise up and to have a powerful influence on their communities.
Here are a few suggested steps to take:
The effectiveness of contacting your political representatives directly as an individual citizen varies. It’s no surprise that contacting the White House with your irate opinion will have little effect on the future of America, however calling upon your local or municipal government, may have a more direct influence.
Contacting your representatives is an important action item in political engagement, however, and the more calls they receive, the more likely they are to vote a certain way on an issue. Here are a few ways you can contact your representatives directly in order of effectiveness (with #1 at the top):
Attending political and community events is another great way to show your support for a particular cause or political figure. Additionally, events provide an opportunity for you to network with like-minded people and become more educated on a movement or issue.
Political events can range from municipal meetings and caucuses, to protests and marches. They include organization get-togethers and action or volunteer opportunities. To find out about local events you can look up your local government’s websites for calendars, check local bulletin boards, and social platforms. You can also check out our events listings. If you really want to get more involved with events on a specific topic or with a specific organization, you may want to try contacting them directly as well.
This action item is really a sub-category of “Connect, Unite, Win”. After becoming involved with a specific issue, it is important that you actively promote that cause and bring others onboard.
We all love a good political meme or cartoon, however they may do more harm than good. Memes can be shallow, polarizing, and half-truthed, and can lead to an entertainment-based political dialogue versus a change-based dialogue. Rather than spending your valuable time in the banter, your voice is needed to affect real change in America.
In just a few years, because of the passionate and diligent efforts of everyday Americans, human and child trafficking went from a virtual unknown, to a massive national conversation with increased funding and better legislation. Many of you were there and your voice made a difference! We need patriots to be loud and proud about issues that matter if we are to make America a better place for all!
Organizations, like those in our directory, rely on YOU to help promote their cause. Your consistent engagement and promotion can be worth hundreds of dollars in marketing expenses and is proven to be far more effective. We encourage you to subscribe to their channels, join their online groups and mailing lists, and promote their content however and wherever you can.
Creating your own petition is another way of mobilizing support on a particular issue. Petitions are created to prove popular support on a viewpoint by collecting signatures of those who endorse the petition’s objectives and they can be effective in gaining support on an issue and holding political figures accountable. Political petitions can range from requesting a referendum vote on a municipal ordinance or asking the White House to take action on issues that matter to you.
In many cases, in order for petitions to be mechanisms for legal and political action, you will need to contact your local elections commission to find out what rules and requirements they may have.
So there you have it! Several great ways, and lots of tips, for beginning your political activism journey. The truth is, reading this article, and discovering your options, is the real “first step”. We are so grateful and excited for your interest in healing America and influencing change! Let’s do this!