Saturday, February 14, 2009

How Can I Impact the Political Process?

The following is a draft in progress. If you have any relevant web links, or comments: please help me out via the comment (pencil icon, at bottom of each entry) section of my blog: Thanks!


What can we do, as normal everyday citizens, to impact the political process?
1) Acknowledge that our U.S. Congress, representatives, senators, governors, State representatives & senators, etc. , ARE ELECTED BY "WE THE PEOPLE," and that these elected officials are in office to serve in OUR collective best interests.
2) Know who your elected representatives are.
Here are websites that you can visit to get this information:

a) general elected officials
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

b) U.S. Senators
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

leadership in the U.S. Senate
http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/senators/a_three_sections_with_teasers/leadership.htm

c) U.S. Representatives
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml

leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives
http://www.house.gov/house/orgs_pub_hse_ldr_www.shtml


Note: you can also find out on which committee each Senator and Representative serves, via links from b) & c) above.


3) Make sure that these elected officials are in fact making decisions (i.e., voting on legislation and introducing legislation) that are, in fact, in our collective best interest. We can do this by:

a) directly calling our elected officials
b) writing to our elected officials via the U.S. mail
c) writing to our elected officials via the Internet and email
d) physically visiting their offices, via appointment, and meeting with them face to face.

e) here is a government sponsored website that lets you write directly to your congressmen on-line: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml


f) there is an interesting website that is monitoring President Obama himself to see how many of his campaign, and subsequent promises he holds true to:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/


g) for official voting records, bill texts, and more visit:

U.S. House of Representatives
http://www.house.gov/house/Legproc.shtml

U.S. Senate
http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/g_three_sections_with_teasers/legislative_home.htm

h) here is the link to a website that tracks how elected officials actually vote on key (note: issues site determines as key)issues:
http://www.votesmart.org/

i) A friend of mine gave me a link to a website where her congresswoman tracks the detailed activities of the current congressional session in a daily log. This congresswoman is very fiscally conservative. This is her take on the 111th Congress. Some interesting reading.

http://majoritytracker.wordpress.com/


4) Stay informed about issues that impact you, your family and your community by reading newspaper & new magazines (or their on-line counterparts), watching local and national new programs, listening to talk radio programs, and having conversations with your friends, family & co-workers about these issues.

a) Something to watch is censorship of the talk radio via the "fairness doctrine" -- this actually a misnomer as the doctrine is anything but fair. Sean Hannity refers to this doctrine as the "censorship doctrine," and I would have to agree with him. Here are some links to check out on this issue:

Basic Info -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

Why the doctrine is anything but fair -
http://www.heritage.org/research/regulation/em368.cfm


b) Interesting reading on stimulating the economy -- lots of charts and pretty pictures:

http://www.heritage.org/Press/Misc/ALaChart.cfm


5) Make an effort to challenge others to get involved in the political process as well:
a) via direct conversations with your friends, family and co-workers.
b) via community meetings.
c) via the Internet (e.g., blogs, emails, u-tube videos, etc.).


6) Become a registered voter and keep your registration current.Find out how to register and update your information (e.g., if you move) at:
http://www.eac.gov/voter/Register%20to%20Vote


7) Join a political party. The Republican Party was a splintered party in this last election. Efforts are currently underway to revamp the party and to develop an oversight and platform that truly encompasses core conservative values. If you would like to support this process, I strongly urge to join and/or make a contribution.

Obama still has an enormous coffer of funds, remaining from his election bid, that he and his party will continue use in order to: reach his base, garner support for their causes, and when needed to once again mobilize their electorate. In order to compete and get the conservative message out, the Republican party also needs to secure funds. Your contribution, no matter how small makes a difference! Check out their website:

Republican National Committee Official Website -
http://www.rnc.org/


8) Stay informed about local elections and voting opportunities (via local city government websites, local newspapers and news TV programs), so that your voice can be heard, and SHOW UP TO VOTE! You should, however, make every effort to be informed about the issues and candidates that you show up and vote for!

9) When necessary draft petitions, to be signed by local citizens, to enact needed change. Here is an interesting website for petition creation and signing: http://www.petitionspot.com/


10) Know what a PAC is (Political Action Committee). Know how PACs work and which ones are working for or against the issues that impact you, your family, and your community. These PAC's can wield a lot of power!
a) basic definition of a PAC: http://www.google.com/searchhl=en&defl=en&q=define:political+action+committee&ei=ZyyXSebaCYKUsQPZ0N2BAQ&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title
b) more specific details on PACs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Political_action_committee

c) federal government website on PACs: http://www.fec.gov/ans/answers_pac.shtml

d) history of PACs:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/political_action_committees.htm
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/aboutpacs.htm

e) look up specific info on a particular PAC: http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/index.php


11) Volunteer to work on the campaign of an elected official that you strongly believe in (e.g., in this last election, I made several dozen phone calls to citizens all over our nation on behalf of the candidate that I believed in. I did this using only the Internet supplied phone list and my home telephone.). There are lots of ways that you can help out in a political campaign: from going door to door for your candidate, posting yard signs and posters, to helping in the campaign office, stuffing mailers, etc.
12) By the same token, you can actively campaign to have an elected official REMOVED from office, if he/she is not serving, in good faith, the people who elected him/her.13) You yourself can run for political office and have a direct impact on the political process. We need more talented and honest people in the process at higher levels!

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Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts. I'll read them and post them soon! God Bless! M