Political Activism 101: Simple Things You Can Do To Make A Difference

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. –Helen Keller

Ordinary people do extraordinary things everyday. Captain Richard Phillips, Susan Boyle, Captain C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger…these are all names in the news recently. Before gaining national attention, they were “regular people” doing “regular things.”

Regular people make a difference every day in countless ways. It has been said, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the word,” showing the profound influence a mother has not only on her children, but upon society as a whole.

Regular people decided to move a continent away and start a new life away from the religious oppression of their country, and went down in the annals of American history.

Regular people, angered at their forced kidnapping and servitude, fought back and made The Amistad one of the most well-known ships in history.

Regular people, like “hockey mom,” Sarah Palin, got involved in her children’s school and went from private citizen and PTA mom to Governor of Alaska and Vice-Presidential candidate. While on the campaign trail, she met another “Regular Joe”…Joe the Plumber.

Last week, on April 15, 2009, thousands of regular people descended upon streets, squares, parks and government offices to protest wasteful government spending.

Anyone of the people listed above could have said, “Someone else will do it…” or “I just can’t get involved…” and there are many who probably did go along with the status quo. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Richard Phillips’ of the world who believed they were “just doing a job” and did it well.

Change is hard. Change is scary. But apathy is worse.

Here are five things you can do today to make a change:

Add a signature line to all of your outgoing e-mails: Under your e-mail settings tab, add a line under your signature. This line can link to a political website that states what you believe in. It can point to a candidate you believe in. It can be an inspirational or religious quote. Whatever it is, make it something that reflects your belief system.

Join a social network: If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, join any number of social networking sites and meet others who hold similar viewpoints. Become a “fan” of a candidate on Facebook. Follow someone on Twitter who believes as you do. Ning.com has a myriad of political social networking sites like Smart Girl Politics, Team Sarah, Black Republicans, TCOT Action Projects, and our site, African-American Conservatives (AACONS). In fact, the members of AACONS all met on Twitter, and went on to expand on their shared political beliefs!

Volunteer: Almost every political website has a section for volunteers. Volunteer to be a poll worker, commit to a shift on a phone bank, canvass your neighborhood on behalf of a candidate, host a viewing party or other political event in your home for your neighbors, put a sign in your yard endorsing a candidate you believe in, or donate to a candidate’s cause. The list goes on and on.

Become informed: Research candidates. Watch the news. Learn. For many years, I voted and I researched my issues. But that’s all. I didn’t want to learn about candidates and what they believed in. I didn’t want to know what was going on in Washington. But that apathy cost me. Now I devour online news sites. I watch cable news shows. I’m not trying to pick a fight, but if I get an opportunity to have a discussion with someone, I come off as well informed. Even if we don’t agree politically, I may provide food for thought, and I certainly don’t feed the “backwards Conservative” stereotype!

Blog! You have opinions. Don’t think no one wants to hear them. Everyday that I log on to my social networking sites, I’m amazed at the number of people who are interested in what I have to say! Your thoughts are your own and, if you live in the United States, you are blessed to live in a country that guarantees and defends your right to express your beliefs freely.

You may be only one, but still you are someone, even if you are the only one. You cannot do everything, but you can still do something. I hope you will.

–M

About Marie Stroughter

The traditional bio for Marie Stroughter would be: “Loving wife to hubby of over 20 years, and homeschooling mom to three adorable kids (and one spunky cat!).” Getting a little bolder would be to say that she is an adoptive mom of two, and a freelance writer and copyeditor. Unique factoids might include: social media addict….uh, maven, avid knitter and Founding Mama of her local knitting Guild, and a devotee of all things gadgety. The rabble-rousing version would read: “Marie Stroughter is the activist mom turned co-founder of African-American Conservatives, and, the opinionated, no-holds-barred host of the African-American Conservatives radio show carried on Blog Talk Radio, and, From The Right Radio where she chats weekly with political movers and shakers like Karl Rove, Steve Forbes, Michelle Malkin, Star Parker, Newt Gingrich, Senator Jim DeMint, and other conservative all-stars and rising stars in addition to her contributor status with Breitbart.com and the iVillage #iVoices and iVote projects.” But the latter would be a run-on sentence, so we’ll stick with the others. [wink]
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Join the discussion!
ChristineMM says:

Great post.

I think you meant to say “the hand that rocks the cradle rocks the WORLD”.

Kemi says:

Hey Marie-

Just ventured on over to your site! This is a great post……and not just because I voted for Alan Keyes back in the day *gasp*….uh huh…yup that’s right….me :)

africanamericanconservatives says:

Thanks for the kind words, Kemi! Though I can’t take all the credit…there are a few of us who blog here! I, too, hoped Keyes had gotten farther in the process. He has some very good, practical ideas…I hope we continue to hear his voice in politics! :)