Being a volunteer on a a political campaign is an interesting experience. We spend our time reaching out to people who are registered to vote. Voter registration is public, and can be requested from any state board of elections or Secretary of State. I have been doing this for 20 years. I’ve helped to “GOTV” or get out the vote, on local campaigns, county level, district or state, and I have volunteered on national campaigns.
When volunteers like myself reach out to voters, we get a lot of common responses. Sometimes they support the candidate I support, sometimes they support someone else, sometimes they’re undecided, and then there are those who have no desire to be involved in politics, and everything is just so messed up there’s no point. Their vote doesn’t matter, and every excuse in the book is thrown out to not be involved. Sometimes people even tell me I’m wasting my time. They tell me to get a life.
It baffles me. What could be more important, than upholding our civic duty? This is how I show my patriotism. I participate in my government, I do my best to be an informed member of the electorate, and I uphold my part of ensuring that this democracy is by the people and for the people.
I am fascinated that people do not seem to draw the line between our government’s dysfunction and our lack of participation in it. If you owned a business, and I’m sure many of you have, would you hire someone and never check on the work they did?
Would you not tell them what you wanted them to do, while working for you?
Would you not require that they be accountable and transparent to you?
Would you not expect them to accomplish your agenda and not their own?
If they didn’t do those things, would you keep paying them or would you find someone else? I imagine in some businesses, you might even do the job yourself. You might recruit someone and vet candidates until you found the right person. Someone moral and ethical. Someone hardworking and intelligent. Someone who speaks clearly about the challenges and offers good solutions. Above all, someone trustworthy.
A healthy democracy requires that all citizens pay attention to it, ensuring that their voices are heard, and that everyone’s voices are heard. We are all meant to vote. We are meant to communicate with our representatives on matters that concern us. We are meant serve in the government if we choose. We can serve in public service, civil, government, or military. These can be callings for people, just like becoming a teacher, a doctor, a scientist, or an athlete.
Patriotism is not wrapping up in a flag, or wearing the flag as a piece of clothing in violation of the US federal flag code.
Patriotism is participating in your government.
Patriotism is fulfilling your civic duty.
Patriotism is taking pride in your government, and the work of the people who proudly served in it.
People who work in public service are not all corrupt, and they are not all bad. It is an excuse to people use, so they can absolve themselves of the responsibility to pay attention. I have worked with many representatives, public servants, or people who serve the public. I have campaigned with and for them, I have worked on issues with them, I have helped to find people resources to information or assistance that they needed, I have helped register people to vote, I have helped people find their polling places, get rides to the polls, and I have helped explain the system, so that participating in our democracy and voting can be accessible to everyone.
We can all do our part. At the very least we must pay attention and not roll our eyes at campaigns and elections. We can make them better but first we have to at least take them seriously. We have to stop listening to the pundits, and the polls, and the backspin, and the speculation. We need to look at each campaign as they are. We need to read their vision, their plans, and look for who really has the most comprehensive platform.
Please spend 10 minutes looking directly at each candidate’s plans for this country. Decide who has the best plan. Show your patriotism, by showing up and doing the work. We can’t control what anyone else does, but can choose to do our part to ensure our democracy is by the people, and that it includes our voice.
Elizabeth Warren: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans
Joe Biden: https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/
Bernie Sanders: https://berniesanders.com/issues/
If you want a quick way to compare the plans, I made this Google Sheet, comparing a handful of plans:
If you are wondering why there are some holes, I explain that here:
Let Me Make This Simple Democratic Voters
Choose wisely. This is your one chance to vote for the best candidate, nominee, President. The rest is just sound and fury, signifying nothing.