What Last Month Can Teach Us About Now: January 2018

A review of the biggest events of the month “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

2018 is here, and with it, a whole new round of political campaigns! Now, I know it feels like we just finished an election, and the last thing you probably want to do right now is listen to more of the polarizing, high-stress, political noise that seems omnipresent in today’s society, but listen here and listen closely. Now is your time. Today, you can change the world.

Okay, so maybe it seems a little presumptuous to claim that your actions could actually cause widespread change. Heck, sometimes it’s difficult to believe we could change our own neighborhood, let alone the world! But not only is it possible, it is within our reach! If you’re like most people, you pay attention to the presidential election, but you may have trouble remaining engaged in politics in the years in between. You may even feel that you need those years to recover and swear off news as much as possible. After all, you did your job by voting in the election, right? And whether your candidate won or lost, it’s out of your hands now, right?

Wrong.

Voting in the presidential election is important, but when it comes down to it, there are many other ways to affect much bigger change. Listed below are just a few of the ways that you can make a difference every day, not just on Election Day.

  1. Think Local

More than likely, you aren’t going to be able to have a face-to-face with the sitting president. However, local politicians, school boards, and PTAs are the perfect place to pitch those new ideas you’ve been holding onto. So get involved, get to know the people, and pay attention during local elections. These people just might be your ticket to affecting change.

  1. Volunteer

There are tons of great organizations already out there that are fighting for the causes you believe in, and they can’t do it alone. Sign up to serve food at a homeless shelter, to campaign for a candidate you support, or to help out at a local nursing home. Not only will you be helping the cause, you’ll get an inside look at it, which may just change the way you see the world.

  1. Actually Show Up

Social media is a great way to connect with people on a variety of issues, but it doesn’t replace the need for people to actually show up. Go to a town hall meeting. March in a protest. Talk to people, in person, about the things you believe in.

  1. Put Your Money Where Your Belief Is

Donate to causes and organizations you believe in. Choose those family-run stores over the big corporations. Subscribe to a news source you trust. Although it may be easier and cheaper to follow the status quo, purposefully choosing what to support will allow you to “vote with your dollars” and change the way the economy works.

  1. VOTE

I know it feels like we’ve just finished an election. I know you may not want to do it again. I know the poll lines may be long and you have work to do and a family to care for and this is a huge inconvenience. But midterm elections matter. And we need to treat them like they do.

This year, make a resolution that is bigger than yourself. Resolve to get informed, get involved, and strive for change in an area you truly care about. Maybe your passion is the environment. Maybe it’s education. Maybe it’s social justice. Whatever you believe in, make this the year that you go out and fight for it.

Click here for more ways you can get involved in politics.

Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash