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Reclaiming Our Voices
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Being a citizen activist
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Top 6 things you can do
Top 6 things you can do to be an citizen activist.

1. Register and vote in every election, as if your life depended on it. Others have died for this right. We tend to take it for granted.

2. Get the facts. Let the voter be aware. Don't rely on hearsay, rumors, sound bites, headline news or paid ads. Dig a little deeper. Let the voter be aware.
a. Look for objective information to help you develop or support your opinions.
b. Don't give in to partisan rhetoric, divisive or disrespectful language.
c. Respectfully disagree with others. Recognize the good intent and patriotism of those with whom you disagree. Respect their rights while standing up for yours.

3. Write to your representatives. Make your opinions known. Support or disagree with their actions as you see fit. Keep them honest. Expressing your opinion is like a mini-vote. They look at the numbers for and against an issue. Many zealous groups organize their members to right and lobby regularly. Your representatives need to know that many may not agree.
a. You can write by e-mail, go to the web sites of your representatives, and fill out their e-mail form.
b. You can join issue oriented groups that share your opinions. They will send action alerts. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can get a message sent to your representatives.

4. Send letters to the editor of your local & regional papers. Keep them honest.
a. Support or disagree with their editorial page.
b. Ask for greater balance when you think your point of view or significant information is being neglected.

5. Avoid complacency, cynicism and apathy.
a. In an emotionally charged national election year, it is easier to get impassioned. Other important decisions are made in off years, and local elections set in motion those who will run for higher positions, so make sure you participate.
b. Remember, the lesser of two evils is still better than the greater of two evils. Vote for the person who is more likely to support the issues that are most important to you. Encourage them to move in your direction, once they are in office, by writing to them. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Expressing your opinion is like a mini-vote. They look at the numbers for and against an issues. Many zealous groups encourage their members to right regularly. Join groups in sympathy with your point of view.

6. Contribute to candidates, parties and grass root organizations that support your point of view on the major issues. Consider monthly payments or pledging an annual sum, similar to what you might do for your church or other organization. Consider a percent of your income.

Posted by pencandle at 8:14 PM EDT

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