Get Involved in Politics

Sometimes it seems like things are a little too broken in this world, and much too hard and complicated to even try to fix. It all seems so…big. While I firmly believe that I live in the best country in the world—and in the best state in that nation—I know that things are not perfect. There are lots of things I wish we could do differently, more efficiently, or just BETTER.

Obviously I cannot just call up my president and tell him these things. I can’t walk up to the door of the Oval Office and say, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea on how to fix the education system!” and then we talk it over while drinking some coffee.

But you know whose office I can call? My local representative. I’ve got a member of the House of Representatives assigned to my district, and he’s got a number that I can call—so I do. I’ve got two senators, too. Plus a whole state government that is much more accessible than the men and women who represent Kentucky in Washington D.C. I’ve never even been to D.C.

If you’ve got a cause you care about—whether it be animal abuse, the music program at your kids’ school, the environment, a higher minimum wage—these are the people you start with. You don’t go directly to the top, you go to the person closest to you.

And how do you find those people? Well, your state legislature probably has its own website, so that shouldn’t be hard to find. Even if you don’t live near your state capital, they’ve got telephones and email addresses you can use to reach out to them.

At the federal level, the house.gov site allows you to type in your zip code (and possibly your address) to get the name and contact info for your rep. The Senatehas a simple drop down menu where you can pick your state, and it will give you the names and info for both of your senators.

Then—contact these people. Email or call them, although you should know that calling them is much, much better. Have your friends and neighbors call, too, if it is an issue that concerns them as well. Get on their mailing or phone chain lists so you will find out about events and functions that your local politicians will be attending. Go to the town halls and express your concerns. The more elected officials hear their constituents, the better they can do their jobs—representing the people they’ve promised to help if elected. Hold them to that. Let them know what they can do for you and follow up to make sure they’re doing it.

If we all did that in our own hometowns and our own states, it would create a ripple effect of activism around the whole country, and we could make this an even better place to live.