Show Up or Shut Up
That's pretty harsh, right? Yeah it is, but that's how I am feeling right now.
I am no stranger to my elected officials, and in fact I call several of them my friend. So it was easy for me to stand before my county commissioners and tell them I support an item that was coming before them yesterday. You can insert any topic you want because for the sake of the story it does not matter. This topic has a lot of community support, at least on social media. I was really hoping the topic would garner some support and direction to the staff would have been to move forward with an educational component, which I was prepared to facilitate. But yesterday only two people showed up to support it, and one citizen was against it. With no strong showing of community support the issue was swept away and I don't blame the commissioners for that.
Here's where we get to my article's title. Now I am seeing the woman who was against this item being talked about negatively by the same people who did not show up. The woman who spoke against the item at least had the dedication to come say her piece and I respect her for that. I completely disagree with what she said and would love to sit down with her to discuss it, but she showed up.
What kind of person are you going to be? Will you stand and let your voice be heard or will you complain because nothing ever changes while you do nothing to bring the change? I hope you will be a change maker. Let me tell you how you can be.
Contact your elected officials often and not just when you need something. Call or email, hand writing a letter is a strong touch, and introduce yourself. Check in from time to time and ask what your representative is working on. When you have an issue important to you reach out and follow up. You can find their contact information here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Tell your friends how you feel on an issue. Find others who feel the same way and together continue contacting your elected officials with a unified message.
Hold meetings and workshops where you can share your ideas and make your position stronger and more specific.
If all else fails start back with #1.
I am hear to tell you that you can make a difference if you are willing to put in the work. I have seen it and you will, too. You know how to get a hold of me if you have any questions or can use some specific advice. If you don't/won't/can't put in the work I don't want to hear you complain and definitely don't put down those who do show up.