Taking the Next Step: What To Do If You Disagree With Your Politician

The United States’ 45th president was inaugurated just a week ago, and the country has been speaking about the future nonstop since then. The following day after the inauguration, a huge moment of solidarity, known as the Women’s March, took place across the country from local Birmingham to San Diego. According to the Women’s March website, approximately 673 sister marches took place around the globe along with the main march on Washington D.C. Women and men came out to march for the “protection of rights, safety, health and families” in response to “rhetoric of the past election cycle.”

 

Over four million people participated to discuss, raise awareness and prove a point that what they believe in is threatened.  The four million shows us that it is possible to take a stand beyond liking and sharing on Facebook.  You can choose to agree or disagree with this example if you want, but the point is that the future of this country is going to bring about either more divisiveness or solidarity, and it all falls on the actions of the people. This could be a good thing, a great thing; for once the American people are getting active in defending what they believe in.

As a United States citizen, you have a voice whether you know it or not, and with these tips, you can take the first step in using your voice for any future decision or issue that you believe or do not believe in.

A good place to start is your local government.

Yes, that means your city. It all starts here. Just a refresher: you have city, state, and national forms of government. You can make a difference just by getting active in your town/city.

Get to know your mayor and his or her policies

Look for his or her contact information. Your mayor is here to serve the people, so if you notice anything or want more information, contact the mayor’s office.

Attend your City Council meetings.

Yes, that sounds absolutely dreadful. They can be an extremely boring and horrible thing to spend time on, but believe me—it’s so important. To save time, you can always call or check ahead of the meetings to see what is being discussed. See something interesting listed? Go and support it!

In most city council meetings, there is a given time for residents of the city to speak up about issues that are happening around town.  They provide time to listen to what YOU have to say. You can also submit issues or complaints to the city council via their members. Nothing is too big or too small; all you have to do is try.

For Auburn, you can start at the city's homepage or see the list of council members with contact information for each person.

As a journalism student who has worked with the council members before, they are all very nice people.  Do not be afraid to contact them.

Okay, now you know who to talk to at the city level, but how?

From the Los Angeles Aging Advocacy Website, here are some tips to getting some points across:

  • Be clear: Tell your local government what you are concerned with and what you want for them to do. This could be stopping something or working towards passing something.
  • Know your district/ward representative of the council and contact them specifically: They know your area and your needs better than anyone else. You can find out who your representative via the city council website.
  • Meet with the members: Sometimes it is best to meet them in person to truly get what you need to say across.

This is a lot, so we’ll stop here. Next, we’ll go for state and national level. 

 

Instead of waiting for things to change, let’s take the next step just like all of those who protest and march for what they believe in every day.  We are the voice of the next generation, and it starts with us.

Go get em’ tiger!