“If you want to understand why this primary season has — and will — continue to drag on look no further than this finding: 74 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents expect Mitt Romney to be the GOP nominee, but just 31 percent want to see him win the nomination.” - ABC News, 3/12/12
An “ambivalent electorate.” That’s how a recent post at ABC News’ “The Note” describes the American public as we quickly approach the 2012 elections. The article describes the American public as “more resigned than inspired,” saying the electorate “knows it will ultimately be forced to choose between two candidates that they don’t believe are up for the job ahead.”
I have to say, that’s a pretty dismal outlook on what is supposed to be one of the best examples of democracy in the world. Yet, it seems to be all too true, and not relegated to the presidential contest alone.
All across the nation Americans are failing to be inspired by its leaders; both those in office, and those running against them. The current RealClearPolitics average for Congressional approval rating is 11.3 percent approving (82.5 percent disapproving). Now, compare that to the voter turn-out in 2010: it was just 37.8 percent.
So, while barely 1 out of 10 Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, less than 4 out of 10 Americans show up to midterm elections where something can be done about it. Some may call that laziness and, surely, that’s got something to do with. However, one has to think that if there were more inspiring candidates, a greater number of voters would be motivated to show up to the polls — either to keep leaders in office, or help put them there.
Instead, such as the ABC News article describes, Americans begrudgingly accept their fate, and voting becomes more of a patriotic chore than an emotionally led decision.
Things don’t have to be that way. We, as individual citizens, can make a huge difference in the way our country is run, if we only first start taking action to cause change.
First, get involved. Try volunteering with a local candidate with whom you truly believe in. More than likely, they can use the help. There is a huge emotional boost by getting down in the trenches to help elect a person in whom you truly believe can do a good job in office. Even if the odds seem stacked against your candidate, help anyway.
The government that most impacts your life is local government, so there is a personal incentive to get active and involved (think seat belt laws, smoking regulations, sales tax, local environmental regulations, etc.). You don’t have to work on a federal campaign to make a difference in your community. But you do have to “work.”
Second, donate. Futhermore, donate far, wide and often. You may not think that the challenger to a 10-term incumbent in a state on the other side of the nation may make a difference, but federal laws passed by Congress are just that: federal. That means everybody’s representatives have some sort of impact on your life with the legislation they sponsor and vote on. The guy challenging that incumbent may be the person who most closely aligns with your views. Chip-in $10 or $20 to that candidate’s campaign. Low-dollar donations can go a long way in helping to elect good people to office.
Right now it’s difficult to intuitively find and align with candidates from across the nation who match your values, but that’s what skimmerhat is planning to change. So, stay tuned to what we’re building, and very soon you’ll be involved in campaigns across the country.
You’ll finally be able to take the keys to our Republic back from the establishment. And, finally, you may be inspired again.