Thinking Out Loud: Get to know who represents you
With the midterm election day upon us, I was going to write an article about the importance of voting, but I already wrote one back on Aug.7, titled "This election season be the change."
I also considered writing an article about how elected officials should understand they are supposed to be representatives of the citizens they serve and how government is supposed to be “for the people, by the people”, but I decided not to because those are things they should already know.
I settled on writing about the how I hope our elected officials understand the importance of their roles, but as I started writing, I realized they should know that already too.
Instead, I chose to write an article about the role of citizens.
In my article on August 7th I discussed the importance of voting, but the role of citizens goes beyond that. The elected officials don’t hold the power. Citizens do.
As such, citizens need to take more than an occasional interest in politics.
The old saying “knowledge is power” hold true, especially with politics in a democratic society.
While most people might know who the President of the United States is, it’s a fair bet to say the majority of citizens can’t name who their local city council representative is, or who represents them in Congress, yet these are the people they should know.
Not only are city council members and state representatives the most accessible in terms of politicians, but they are also the people who have the most influence in terms of our day to day lives.
In order for politicians to truly represent you, they need to hear your voice.
There is so much more to politics than just whether or not you like the President, yet that is what seems to define so much of our society today. It’s okay to have an opinion, but it’s also okay to be educated about the political process.
And it’s also okay to speak out when something isn’t right or when our officials are considering spending our hard earned tax dollars.
Citizens need to research issues beyond what they see in the news and on social media. They need to truly understand the issues, rather than just complain about them to their friends.
In short, citizens need to care.
This is what keeps our elected officials accountable.
I hope you’ll use this election season as a time to learn more about those who represent us because everything starts at the local level.
You need to get involved in order to see a difference.
If you don’t, somebody else will do it for you.
-Marty Augustine is a Shawnee based writer and opinion columnist . You can read more of his articles and follow him on Facebook at: Facebook.com/MartyWrites