Back before blogging (or at least before I knew about it), I created my very own Soapbox here on ChezArtz. My very first post in 2002 still seems timely, so I have copied it here:
Soapbox # 1 – Democracy
July 12, 2002
By the People, For the People?
Our Founding Fathers said it best over two-hundred years ago. As Americans, we’re blessed with the right to vote and voting ensures that our senators, representatives, and Executive Branch truly represent the entire population of the United States. Representative government is at the heart of democracy. It is our responsibility both to preserve the ideals upon which our nation was founded and to protect democracy so that the next generation of Americans can flourish as we have. Too many people ignore this responsibility. Even more exercise their democratic responsibility only once a year. But our responsibility doesn’t have to begin and end on the first Tuesday of each November. Why not ensure that our elected officials know how we feel about issues, not just on election day, but every day of the year? But how? How can one individual make such any difference? It’s easy. Put democracy to work for you. For the cost of a stamp and envelope, or the even for the cost of a few minutes to send an email, you can contact your Senators, Representatives, Mayor, Governor, or even the President. And why not? Elected officials know that they have their jobs because of individual votes like yours; they will not ignore you.
How to Make Your Voice Heard
Research can be time-consuming, so I thought I’d save you the hassle.
- Want to contact your Congressman? Try http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/.
- Want to contact President Bush? How about:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Comment line: 202-456-1111
- Email the United Nations at to email@example.com or research issues at http://www.un.int.
- Email the US Ambassador to the UN at firstname.lastname@example.org or research online: http://www.un.int/usa/.
- Write to the State Department to comment on US Foreign Affairs:
Department of State
2201 Northwest C Street
Washington, DC 20520-0001
Fax: + 1 202 647 6047
- Don’t just contact politicians, because your consumer dollar may mean even more to Big Business than your vote means to your local Representative. Got a complaint about a business? Do something about it.
- Write a letter to the editor at your local newspaper. Politicians read these, and so do many other people. Turn that one little voice into many by rallying community support at the grass-roots level.
Silence may as well be acceptance!
Your letter may be the one that rallies someone with more power than you or I could hope to have into action, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Don’t stand by and watch the world go around, do something. Silence is acquiescence in terms of government, business and politics. Don’t let wrongs happen unnoticed or unopposed. Do something about it.
Why does ChezArtz care what I do?
Don’t think for a minute that we’re encouraging you to take action just so that you’ll support the issues we support. The point of this Soapbox was not to create agreement, but to encourage participation. If 100% of registered voters had voted in the last election, we wouldn’t have a complaint in the world. If each adult in the United States knew who their local Representative was, we wouldn’t say a word except “Congratulations!” But that’s not the way things are.
- Only 51% of registered voters voted in the Presidential elections in 2000.
- Voter turnout in non-Presidential election years hovers around 38%.
This sends a message loud and clear: 49% of Americans either don’t care who becomes President or are so dispirited by the negative political climate of the last few decades that they just don’t think they have a reason to vote. So we’ll do what we can to encourage anyone and everyone to take part in Democracy, to take responsibility for the Government of the United States and do something to make it better.
Other Important Issues
Did you know that 43,000 women die each year from breast cancer? My grandmother had it, my aunt had it, my cousin had it, and in each case early detection saved their lives. Click here and The Breast Cancer Site will donate a free mamogram to an underpriveleged woman. For whatever reason, man-made or natural, over an acre of rainforest is destroyed each second. Click here to preserve 11.4 square feet of rainforest. Concerned about the environment, but not sure what to do about it? The Sierra Club is the largest environmental lobbying group in the United States and never resorts to the sort of eco-terrorism sometimes seen from members of Greenpeace or PETA. They use collaboration, education, and activism to protect fragile ecosystems and lower pollution.