Many people feel upset and dissatisfied by the state of the world. They watch politicians and conclude that those decision-makers are so disconnected from the lives of everyday individuals that any solutions they propose or pass will seem out of touch and virtually useless for people who need help the most.
If you can relate to such feelings, now is an ideal time to commit to personal action. You’ll soon see that there are various things you can do, no matter if you want to get into the thick of things right away or take a smaller, gradual role in sparking change. Before getting started, try your best to have an accurate view of what’s in your power to influence. It’s common for people to initially feel extremely motivated about making changes happen.
They eventually realize that progress comes after tremendous hard work, and many people who experience things moving in the right direction only do so after tackling numerous obstacles first. Moreover, the full extent of the difference you want to make in the world through politics may not be evident in your lifetime. That’s okay. Get in the mindset that you’re paving the way for a brighter future, one incremental, thoughtful action at a time.
Know That It’s Never Too Early or Late to Get Educated
Even the most politically motivated individuals sometimes perceive age as a barrier to making things happen. For example, maybe you’re a teenager passionate about politics who can’t submit an election ballot for another couple of years. Alternatively, perhaps you’re a 60-something person who has never been particularly interested in politics but realizes you can’t sit back any longer.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, take it upon yourself to learn about the political issues that matter most to you. Additionally, don’t only pay attention to the content that aligns with the views you already hold. Rounding out your education on the subjects typically means listening to people with opinions you don’t share. Doing that is often uncomfortable, and your first instinct may be to avoid it.
However, the more you know about what and how people on the “other side” think, the easier it’ll be for you to see what compels them to hold those perspectives. After taking the time to listen to them respectfully, you’ll be in a better position to discuss your views, and perhaps reach a common ground of understanding.
Talk to People About the Importance of Voting
You probably know at least a few people who complain that they feel voting is a pointless action. They may reach that conclusion for numerous reasons. Some of them aren’t excited about any of the presidential candidates. Others hear news stories about problems with voting machines, lost ballots, and other errors. They may believe that even if they take all the right steps to get registered and go to the polls, things will go wrong so that their votes don’t count.
Before taking a deep dive into any discussion that encourages people to vote, take the time to show that you want to listen to why they’re against it. That way, you can come up with a more relevant response instead of seeming like you’re just repeating some of the arguments for voting that you read online yesterday.
Perhaps someone says that they feel very indifferent about voting, and they don’t see the value in casting a ballot. In that case, you could remind them of people who feel very strongly about making their voices heard in the political system, but don’t have votes to use. For example, some states do not allow convicted felons to vote, even after they serve all the required jail time. A friend might feel more willing to use their vote when thinking about people who cannot.
Get Involved in Political Organizations
Your decision to use your influence in the political arena can feel overwhelming at first. Maybe you’re excited and hopeful about what’s possible but have no idea how to get started.
That’s an understandable situation, but you must not let your fear or doubt convince you not to take part after all. One smart option is to join a political organization that matches your viewpoints and goals. Taking this route does not necessarily mean you have to restrict yourself to only working with people associated with certain political parties. For example, No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
More than half a million citizen supporters work together to promote political problem solving and fight political dysfunction. An organization like that could help you direct your energy in meaningful ways rather than feeling uncertain about how to make the most impact.
As these examples show, your willingness to cause changes through political action doesn’t require you to become an expert first. No matter how involved you’ve previously been in matters of politics, now is a fantastic time to use your enthusiasm to help create the kind of world you want to see in the short and long-term future.