Winning isn’t Enough…Ten Steps for Staying Politically Enaged

 

(By The Pragmatic Pundit)

As Republicans recover from the gobsmackery of their tremendous loss, Democrats have been reveling in success at the ballot box.  It was a righteous win.  United citizens proved we could overcome and defeat Citizens United… but winning isn’t enough.

The Middle Class, Democrats, Obama supporters must stay engaged!

The election is over but the Republican party is a perfect circus act…managing to juggle several balls at once.  Here are ten steps for staying engaged so that we can continue winning:

1.    Don’t be distracted by side issues, punditry and the incessant chatter.  The war against voters, women, unions, workers, education, healthcare, science, the gay community, immigration, minorities, the President and even Christmas will continue.

Many like to believe the Tea Party is gone.  Fair warning!  As everyone is abuzz about Tea Party Kingmaker Senator DeMint’s move from Congress to The Heritage Foundation,  remember what The Heritage Foundation really is.  The organization is not about the business of advancing scholarship, but influences, structures and advances conservative policy.

More than twenty years ago, author Russ Bellant wrote:

“The Heritage Foundation will continue to be a key element in the phalanx of rightist groups with an agenda of austerity for the poor, hostility to minorities and women, upward distribution of wealth for the rich, economic domination of the Third World….”

2.     Get your voter identification.  Just because the election is over doesn’t mean Republican dirty tricks will stop.  They will continue to try to suppress voting through voter ID registration and any other means they can.  Get your identification or help someone else acquire theirs.  Give Republicans no excuse to deny anyone the right to vote in the next election.  Don’t wait until another election is near…do it now!

On election day, Minnesota voters rejected a voter ID ballot initiative. In September, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced S.3608: Voter Empowerment Act of 2012.  You can read the text of the bill and follow its progress at  GovTrack.us.

National Conference of State Legislatures has a database with all state voter identification requirements.

You can also find valuable information at Brennan Center for Justice.

3.    Register to vote.  Then make certain your registration has actually been recorded.  During this past election, Republicans destroyed Democratic registrations, switched Democrat registrations to Republican or failed to record them at all.  It isn’t enough to just sign your name…make certain you are “correctly” registered to vote…even if you just voted…take nothing for granted.

USA.gov has voter guides, registration information, voting accessibility, and information for military and overseas voters.

Register to Vote.org makes it convenient to register in any state.

4.    Follow the legislation that affects your life, and the voting record of your state and federal representatives.

You can follow the top ten legislative items of interest at The Library of Congress – Thomas.

OpenCongress is a non-profit, non-partisan public resource where you can track all of the legislation in Congress.

5.    Don’t get blindsided.  Candidates have records!

Voters have a tendency to make decisions based on campaign rhetoric, when candidates are telling the public “what we want to hear”, but candidates have records that will give a clue to what they “really” believe.

Based on earlier revelations, it should have come as no surprise to women that Gov. McDonnell of Virginia would promote intra-vaginal probing or approve legislation that discriminated against the gay community.  It isn’t what they say in the heat of a campaign that counts, it’s what they’ve done.

Project Vote Smart is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that gives the biographies, voting records, issue positions, ratings, speeches and campaign information of politicians.

another is On The Issues.

6.    Pay attention!  “States Rights” have very special implications and because of gerrymandering, Republicans control many state governments and are likely assured to do so for the next 10 years.  It is where the “real” assault is taking place.  Who runs your state?

State Government – USA.gov. – Resources and websites on U.S. states and territories, local and city governments.

Library of Congress – State and Local Governments

7.    Let common sense, instinct and knowledge be your guide.  We are all too often swayed by emotional and superficial values; for example Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating is at 77%, an all-time high.  Why?  Because of his response to Hurricane Sandy?  Because people appreciate his frank and nitty-gritty dialogue?  Hurricanes don’t happen everyday and many consider Governor Christie rude. Still, neither should determine whether or not he is fit for office.

Here’s what’s important about Gov. Christie:

He vetoed a bill that would have legalized same sex marriage in New Jersey as well as other bills that respect a woman’s right to equality.

Christie opposed a law which limited the number of handguns that can be legally purchased in New Jersey to one per month.

This is how he approached New Jersey’s  budget shortfall:

He laid off state workers, closed state psychiatric institutions, cut education, suspended a property-tax rebate program, raised the deductible and doubled some drug co-payments for participants in a state prescription-drug plan for the elderly and disabled, cut state-financed school breakfasts, rental assistance and trimmed the state’s earned-income tax credit.

He reduced funds for pension contributions,  funding for nursing homes and medical day care services.  All while he gave tax cuts to the wealthy and the so-called job creators.  Still, just before Sandy, New Jersey’s unemployment rate was 9.8%, the third highest unemployment rate in the country.

The question should be…how effective has he been at governing?  Have his policies enhanced the Middle Class?  That should be the litmus test for any legislator…even if you like them.

8.    Find reliable sources to stay abreast of current events.  Try to steer clear of ideological agreement and seek out sources that report based on facts.  Sadly, that may not always be the media, so it’s important to

9.    Do your own fact-checking.

Congress.org is a nonpartisan news and information website dedicated to encouraging civic participation.

10.    Get involved and stay involved.  Support petitions, contact your representatives…rally for the legislation and legislators who support your cause.  Write, call, fax, email, tweet, rally …make your voice heard!

Contact your elected officials.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper

The most important rule of engagement is to STAY ENGAGED!

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