- Politics is happening to you every day.
Whether we like to be “political” or not. The reality is that decisions are being made on our behalf every single day that directly affect our lives. I get that politics can be really intimidating and inaccessible but it shouldn’t be that way! For this country to really work for everyone, everyone has to find their way to be part of the process. Whether it’s about our access to birth control, our ability to take time off when we have children, the cleanliness of the air we breathe, if our neighbor can own a gun and so much more, we need to use our voice.
So who do we need to talk to? The people we elect. They are making these decisions for us on a daily basis. That is why is SO IMPORTANT to not only participate in elections but to also then hold the winners accountable. Today, it’s easier than ever to contact your elected officials and be a part of the process by reaching them through email, social media and phone calls. Let them know we’re paying attention to the work they’re doing and make sure they represent our interests - not just those who are giving them money. This is what our country was built on. The principle that everyone has equal power through one person, one vote. Make sure they are doing their job right by telling them what matters to you. And if they don’t, well we’ll see what happens when they come up for their employee review (ie. the next election!)
2. You’re a BOSS!
Figuratively AND literally. I mean, we’re all boss-babes in our everyday lives anyway but every one of us really does oversee several employees: the politicians we elect to represent us in our city/town, state, and country. We hire them through our votes (and fire them btw). We pay their salaries through our tax dollars. And we guide the work they should be doing on a daily basis. I’ve definitely never been one to shy away from telling people what to do and I’m not going to stop with the employees who work for me who are making such important decisions about my everyday life.
You can easily find out who your employees are at every level of government by texting REPS to 52886. Check it out and then tell them to go get you lunch (by way of passing a bill to achieve equality for women, ensuring economic prosperity for all!).
3. You have influence. It’s easy to compare the number of Instagram followers we have with others and measure our influence based on those numbers. But at SameSide, we have seen that everyone has really powerful influence with their most immediate inner circle - whether that’s friends, family, co-workers, classmates, etc. when they speak up in an authentic way about the issues they care about and why.
There is always someone paying attention to what you say and do who will be inspired. So recognize the impact you can make with your influence by using your voice and action for the issues that matter to you most. Talk about why you’re so passionate about women’s equal pay or protecting against climate change or implementing obvious ways to curb gun violence.
You can go to your favorite advocacy organization (like Planned Parenthood, The Sierra Club or ACLU) to learn about issues and find their “Take Action” button or go to SameSide’s Movements page where we’ve aggregated information and ways to take action for the most pressing issues of the day.
4. You are your own subject matter expert. We hear from a lot of people that they don’t feel confident speaking up about politics because they don’t know enough about an issue to talk about it. But no one knows your life experience better than you and that is what should drive your beliefs and discussion. When you speak from that place, no one can dispute your facts. At SameSide, we are so dogged about people sharing their experience because we know every single person is dynamic and has a unique lived experience so when more people share their own truth we can come to a better understanding about how to solve the real issues that are affecting the growth of us as a society.
Take the #metoo movement as an example. People (mostly men) were SHOCKED to their core at how many women have be sexually assaulted or harassed in their lives. Because we all stood up and shared our stories, so many new rules, laws, programs have been initiated through government, workplaces and schools. We haven’t come anywhere close to solving the problem yet, but we’ve at least started acknowledging it. That all starts by using our voices.
So go ahead and contact your legislator about something that matters to you then tweet, post, blog or vlog about it along with a link for others to take action too. I guarantee you will see your impact inspire others and start a really cool domino effect. (hint: you can get started at SameSide!)