April 20, 2012
Many people, including myself, shy away from politics because they do not feel they can commit themselves completely to one party’s prescribed belief system or goals. I find myself on the fence in many issues. I may agree with a particular candidate on 3 out of 5 of their policy platforms but agree with another candidate on the other two. So what does that mean? Does it mean I am a hypocrite because I cannot whole-heartedly pour myself into one particular party?
I believe the answer is simple NO. But it’s not that simple when it comes to getting involved. It can leave individuals, who would love to be politically active, feeling as if they have no place to go. I struggled with this battle for years. I would attend one particular party’s meetings, but leave feeling like an outsider if I mentioned I didn’t agree with a particular group stance. I would then go to the other party’s meeting only to feel the same way.
Instead of focusing on the issues I knew I felt strongly about, I just kept myself out of the political process all together. I am now realizing that I can be politically active without prescribing or associating with one particular party. How can you do the same?
Special Interest Groups
Find a special interest group or platform you feel strongly about. Everyone has that little something they are passionate about. Whether it is animal rights, women’s issues, environmental policy, or anything in between, most people have a passion and know they could contribute to. Start with those items.
Make a list of issues that are most important to you, and then look for groups in your area or nationally who support that cause. If you feel strongly about animal rights start by volunteering for your local Humane Society. This may seem like a relatively “non-political” action, but it is actually quite the opposite. The Human Society lobbies for its causes on Capitol Hill just like anyone else.
Starting locally can be best for those who are not sure where to start. For example, if you are a green living advocate and think your community needs more recycling options or curbside recycling pick-up, start a campaign for change. Find others who agree with your stance – it can be as easy as mentioning the idea to friends and family – and make a plan of action. Write letters to your congressmen and congresswomen and local government officials.
Just because you do not fit into a specific political mold does not mean that you have to stand on the side-lines of the political process. Follow your passions and be open for the opportunity to make a huge difference in your community.
What ways do you remain politically active in your community?