“We the people…” Those three words are from the preamble for one of the most powerful governing documents ever written. While those few words don’t assign power, they speak to what citizens can accomplish when we work together and hone our focus. And when we have the right tools, our collective focus may have a significantly greater impact.
The Internet and social media have become very effective tools for people to communicate with one another about important causes and issues. Do you remember the Arab Spring during which multiple protests and demonstrations occurred? News spread across countries about protests and their locations; once word spread internationally through various forms of social media, the movements gathered more support. Through the power of clicks and protests, citizens in multiple nations including Egypt, Libya and Yemen changed the course of history by making their voices heard and, subsequently, ousting their rulers from office. It was the ultimate display of the power of the people; voices joined to further common goals.
In the United States there’s no shortage of causes to support. Immediately after the re-election of President Obama there were several efforts to secede from the Union. While those particular attempts make it clear that not all petitions will or should become successful, at the very least it’s clear that petitions are still a wonderful way to ensure that elected officials know what a significant number of voters consider to be an issue of importance. We often reach out to our local and national politicians by way of individual direct phone calls or e-mails but, as most of us know, there is strength in numbers. One of the most popular ways of getting government’s attention when one wants to protest policies or legislation is to write a petition in order to encourage change. Sure, there are petitions for
useless and incredibly silly things such as giving Vice President Joe Biden his own reality show, but there are many others offered for your consideration as well, including one that seeks to limit the pay of congressional representatives to $75,000 a year in order to get them to do the jobs they were elected to do.
Here’s an example of at least one way we can do something proactive; with upcoming debt ceiling negotiations we can do our part to help put someone in office to replace current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. By signing this petition here for Nobel prize-winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman our clicks will inform leaders that we want someone in office who will do battle against those who gambled with the nation’s AAA rating, opposes austerity measures that have failed globally, and who wants this government to focus on job creation.
Additional petitions include one to end corporate welfare, one to stop education policies that promote massive closing of traditional public schools while expanding for-profit charter schools, and another that seeks to end corporate attempts to influence decisions to potentially cut Medicare. There are many from which you can choose; the causes are broad and the dedication is deep.
You have all the information you need to become an active participant in the very government that affects you on a daily basis. It’s your government too; after all you are one of the “we…the people.”