On My Soapbox: Get involved

It’s election season, which means more people will be vocal – wait, I think I used this lede before.

Yeah, the column went on about how people will be vocal online, through email, blah, blah, blah. Then I think I said something like, “Go Vote,” which is cliché around this time of year.

All of that is true. Speak up about the issues and go vote for who you think will uphold what you believe is important in those issues. But, to make sure they are doing so, people need to get involved.

I wouldn’t dare run for an elected office because of the evils it brings out of people, but I commend those who do. Even if they don’t share the same views as myself, I appreciate their willingness to get involved and try to make a change.

That doesn’t mean the people not running can’t make a change. Speaking up is great and all but showing up is better. I don’t mean show up and make a scene or corner someone and yell at them. I mean show up and participate in activities or events. Show up and hold the elected officials accountable for what they promised during their campaign.

Do the research on the issues, and then ask candidates questions with the expectation of receiving honest answers. But remember, they are politicians – take that how you will.

By being involved in the community, candidates will see you, which can be a good thing. If they see you more and more, they will try to get your vote. If elected, they should still see you often so you can make sure they are not backing out of campaign promises.

At most of the events I cover, I see the same group of people. Not saying that others don’t participate, but I can call out about seven or eight names I usually expect to be there regardless of the location or time.

I understand everyone has different schedules and it’s a lot easier to complain online. Showing up online often usually comes with a negative connotation and doesn’t count as getting involved.

Although we post a social media question once a week on the Taylor Press Facebook page, I wouldn’t consider that getting involved. It is just to gauge the opinion of the community in a public forum. It may or may not “move the needle,” and it is definitely not better than showing up and speaking out in person.

Again, it’s election season and everyone who can, should vote. It’s your civil duty and people fought hard for the rights. They also fought for the freedom to go and participate in the community.

Both are privileges. Both are decisions made by you – the individual person.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and go enjoy NBA all-star weekend, although no Spurs are participating. I’m interested to see how the Kobe Bryant tribute in the game works.

“Civic participation over a lifetime, working in neighborhoods and communities and service of all kinds – military and civilian, full-time and part-time, national and international – will strengthen America's civic purpose.”

- John McCain

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