From childhood, I was told the United States is a participatory democracy. Maybe participatory is redundant, but “participatory” means democracy doesn’t exist, doesn’t function unless YOU, the electorate participates. That doesn’t mean only casting your vote. It doesn’t mean only expressing your opinion to those around you. Your elected official cannot accurately represent you and other constituents unless they hear from you. How can they know what you think unless you tell them?
Your local media can interview your elected officials. They can write about the interview. They can share that interview in the newspaper, on the radio, on social media. But until you tell your representative what you think, you are not participating. You are only listening to what your elected official thinks.
The Iowa State legislature will soon be in session. The run-up to the national 2020 is starting. In Iowa, you will have remarkable opportunities to participate. Study the issues. Learn the facts. There will be lots of chances to visit with your elected officials and with future candidates. Watch for them. Look for announcements in newspapers, on the radio, in social media. Take advantage of the opportunities. A first step is to simply attend.
It isn’t confrontational. It isn’t scary. Listen. Step out of your comfort zone. Then call your local legislators. Send them an email. Send them a letter. Attend town halls. Ask questions. Give them your opinion about the issues facing us locally, in Iowa and in the nation. Tell them how those issues affect you, your family and your friends. It is your story. It is your right when you live in the United States. Believe that it is your right. Don’t complain about others running your town, state or country. Participate. You will grow. You will be a better voter.
Don’t complain until you participate.