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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Opinion

Being politically active should continue after Election Day


Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Presidential elections are over and regardless of the result, your civic duty is not over. Yes voting is one of the pillars of democracy and it is one of the best ways to voice your opinion, but there’s so much more you can do.

Staying politically active between election cycles ensures that you are up to date about current issues and will therefore make informed decisions come the next Election Day.

Signing petitions, contacting public officials, going to protests and joining activist groups are excellent ways to be politically active when voting season is over. 

Signing petitions 

Although petitions usually don’t directly affect politicians, they do influence the people who are exposed to them. Petitions are a great way for organizations to recruit new members and inform new people about their cause. 

Oftentimes, petitions will not have a radical impact on the politician they are trying to persuade, but they will give the activist organization a solid idea of who is supporting them or at least interested in knowing more about the topic. 

By signing petitions you show interest in certain issues, which makes it easier for you to become part of the dialogue surrounding it. Petition organizers are likely to contact you with any developments once you sign the partition; this makes it easy for you to stay updated. 

Only signing a petition is not enough to be politically active, so consider also taking action in other ways. 

Contacting elected officials

Reaching out to politicians is one of the easiest ways to show interest in important issues; many organizations have prewritten letters that just need your name. Whether your preferred candidate won or not, it is good practice to contact your representatives and keep them accountable. 

If the person you voted for won, that’s great, but make sure they are keeping the promises that got your vote. If the other candidate won, ensure that your voice is heard. 

Government officials are meant to represent all of us, so make sure that your concerns are addressed. 

Going to protests

Over this year we have seen the great impact protests can have on social issues, so consider attending or organizing one in your community. 

Before participating in a protest make sure to thoroughly research the cause, the local regulations, the route and the possible risks. Also keep in mind that the pandemic is still in full swing, so take precautions that will help you stay healthy

Joining an organization 

Becoming a member of a local organization can be the next step in your political involvement. Many of these organizations are eager to educate, have new members join and even hire people who are looking for a long term commitment. 

Research causes that are important to you and find local groups that share those interests in order to not only become a more involved member of your community, but to become more politically active. 

There are numerous ways to be politically active year round; even when you cannot vote, you can still make an impact. 

Participate in your community and stay informed, we can no longer afford ignorance and absent citizens. 

Gina Medina is a journalism senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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