By Laura L. Klure
Many of us are wondering, “What should I do?” With all the things that are wrong in the world today, and considering the recent controversial election for President, what should citizens be doing? If we don’t like some of Donald Trump’s statements or his selections for various appointments, what can we do?
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a single, straight-forward, easy answer to any of these questions. The governmental situation in the United States is very complex, with many issues of concern, and no easy solutions to our difficult social problems. Some things are also changing very rapidly.
However, there are some words that can remind us about what our duties are, if we want to be responsible citizens. Those words include: Stay informed. Communicate. Donate and Volunteer. VOTE. Educate. Conserve. Demonstrate, and take other good actions. Nobody is able to do all of those things all the time, but let’s look in greater detail at some of the efforts that can help improve our country.
STAY INFORMED. It’s important for concerned people to pay attention to good sources of news, such as reliable newspapers, including this one. The internet, television, radio, mailers, and other sources do spread some important news stories, but we must be attentive to the accuracy of such “news.” We should not let ourselves be misled by any “fake” news. Pay attention to what is said and written by elected officials that you trust.
Legislative issues are often extremely complicated, so it’s often best to listen to a speech or see statements on official websites, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren’s site, www. warren.senate.gov. If you really want to see the entire text of a bill, try https://congress.gov.
COMMUNICATE. Tell elected officials, your family members, and your friends what you think about issues of concern to you. Write letters to representatives, but keep them short and precise. Share information that promotes understanding among people of different races.
DONATE. If you have any funds available, give to organizations that are doing good work, and to candidates who support your positions. There are many good organizations in the U.S., but it’s easier to evaluate which ones you approve of most if you examine what they are doing locally. Join local groups that are solving problems, and VOLUNTEER some of your time to those special groups and campaigns.
VOTE!! It is sad that many Americans don’t vote. Just voting for President is not enough. We need to improve the voting percentages in all local, state, and federal elections. See website www.annenbergclassroom.org/speakout/path-to-the-presidency-why-is-it-important-to-vote.
EDUCATE. It is important for our children to grow up with the understanding that they have responsibilities as citizens. Fortunately, school programs can include some teaching about what it means to be an American. See such educational websites as: www.civiced.org/ resources/curriculum/lesson-plans. http://centeroncongress.org/what-does-it-mean-be-american-citizen. www.uen.org/general_ learner/civics/citizenship/responsibilities. https://kids.usa.gov/teens/goverment/about-our-government/index.shtml.
CONSERVE. Limit your use of water, utilities, gasoline, and other products that have environmental impacts. It’s not just how our officials set policies, it’s how WE behave that can make a difference. Support businesses that are environmentally conscious.
California Governor Jerry Brown’s official website states, “Protecting the environment is essential to our long-term prosperity.”
DEMONSTRATE. This does not just mean attending huge gatherings on some street. We can demonstrate our views by attending local government meetings, and making appropriate comments when allowed. We can wear political buttons, carry small signs about issues, spread our opinions politely.
So, there are a lot of things to think about and to do. Looking forward – let’s hope that in the next few years the responsible readers of the IE VOICE News will be doing all they can to help our circumstances improve! Best wishes for a Happy New Year 2017!