While everyone laments the state of the Republican Party politics and as this caustic primary continues to perpetuate further fracturing and division, I thought it might be thoughtful to offer a remedy for the election season blues.
If you want to feel better about politics, then the best thing you can do is volunteer your time and energy at the local level. Get involved in charities, register voters, door knock for local or statewide candidates whom you do support, attend local government meetings, attend local town halls, or write an upbeat letter to the editor (you have no idea how rare those are).
Everyone who follows politics across social media understands that much of what we’re actually doing is nothing more significant than screaming loudly into our own little echo chambers. We get angry at people who do not see our candidate or our faction the same way we do and we often fight over these subjective perceptions. Facts serve as fodder for spin just as readily as lies. At some point, exhausted by futility, we either unplug or become angry. Neither are productive courses in the end.
The reason why acting is so important, is because you are doing something with measurable and objective results. You are accomplishing tasks toward your own goals. Even if you’re just showing up at your local School Board or your Board of Supervisors or your Town Council meetings, you are objectively acquiring knowledge and information that (and lets be honest) probably none of your neighbors have – allowing you to be a source of honest information for them.
Being involved is also social and it grounds you. The average person at a little league baseball game or at a grocery store on some cool Saturday morning isn’t going to yell and scream about politics. It’s calming to talk about politics with people who do not follow it too closely, because they aren’t nearly as agitated as the rest of us who live and breathe our governance. You may even be reminded that people, on average, aren’t as awful as they appear when viewed through the prisms of politics. You might even find some Democrats that you like.
Volunteering for campaigns is wonderful. It gives you greater access to your candidate of choice and to their staff. It dramatically increases the volume and weight of your voice amongst those surrounding the candidate you support, because you aren’t just a phone call or an email or an angry letter to an editor. You’re a volunteer. You’re apart of the team.
Finally, involvement in local government will open your eyes to all of the intricacies and difficulties your representatives in Richmond and Washington D.C. face on a daily basis. You’ll understand why somethings just cannot get done or why what works for you in your household might not be viable when it comes to government. You’ll have a better understanding of the moving parts and the particulars of the process. The more you understand and the more you are able to do, the better you’ll feel.
So feel better. Get involved. Meet some strangers. Grow the Party. Be an active and positive force in your community.