Alison Macbeth – Anchor Staff
The talk of voting has been ubiquitous this past week with midterm elections. Although voting is extremely important, it is not the only way to be involved in creating change in our communities and government.
As a democracy, the United States operates with popular sovereignty. This means that the power to make legislation lies with the people rather than one sovereign, such as a king. Voting is one way to determine the opinions of the majority.
As we saw this past week, voting is an important part of democracy. Our structure would not work without people casting their ballots. However, voting is not the only means of being an involved citizens. In fact, spending a few minutes at the poles to fill out a ballot hardly captures the nuances of the political system.
Who introduces the ideas that turn into ballot measures? Who does the research? Who organized protests and interacts with the public to change their thinking?
While Americans should gladly vote, it is important to exercise the freedoms we have to raise awareness on issues, contact our local representatives, be aware of town and local elections, as well as become part of organizations that represent our causes.
CNN Politics noted 25 ways to be involved politically some of which included reading up on American history and civics, being part of a campaign, attend town halls, and volunteer with an organization that benefits your community.
If you were disappointed nor thrilled with the results of the midterms this past week, remember that your vote is not the be-all end-all. Don’t get bogged down with your pessimism or optimism. Local and national issues still need your involvement. And this exceeds just a post on Facebook that all your similarly-minded friends will like. Be a leader in your community and work hands on with the issues you are passionate about.
So, yes, please vote. But also, recognize that a democracy not only rests on the freedom of voting but also the participation, the voice, the pressure and interaction of the people.