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There is no reason for the government to shut down. That is something that I’m sure most of us can agree upon. As American citizens, let’s ask ourselves a few questions. Do we know the who, what, when, where and why of this government shutdown? Why did it happen? Who does this affect? Most importantly, what can we as American citizens do about it to make sure something like this becomes unacceptable and does not happen again?
Growing up in the time that we live in, anything that happens in the world is at our fingertips within seconds. We have social media with constant updates about life, news feeds crafted to give us the information we feel the necessity to know about in our daily lives. There are publications constantly posting about the government, there are even television channels that show nothing but government action around the clock. We can even go online and see what our elected officials personally vote for.
If we do not pay attention to what is going on in the world and what the government is doing, it can essentially do anything it wants.
Inform your elected officials.
Remember your elected officials are in Washington to represent you. We as students and citizens do not agree with certain things that happen in this country. Let your elected official know what is on your mind. Otherwise, how will they ever know? We should send a letter, email or call our elected officials with a common demand. Officials are more likely to accurately represent us if they know what we are looking for.
Most of your elected officials have a Twitter or Facebook. Every time you have a problem with the government or something going on, tweet it at your representatives or tag them in the status. Let them hear your voice.
Get to know your elected officials.
If you were to have someone represent you in a contract negotiation for a job, you would want that person to be someone who understands your best interests. The same goes for who we send to Washington. Student loans, price of college, abortion, healthcare: do your elected official feel the same way as you do on these subjects? Know what the person who represents your best interests thinks on topics that are significant to you.
You have a voice. That voice is choosing whether or not to vote, and, if so, who to vote for. The country we live in is designed so that every few years if the majority of citizens are unhappy with the person who represents them, it can pick someone else. This is a right that is not found in many places of the world. Whether you choose to vote or, not appreciate the voice you are given and make that voice heard loud and clear to your elected officials.
Finally, do not get lost in the Democrats vs. Republicans battle that we have grown up in the last couple of decades. George Washington warned of the dangers of political parties and the government shutdown is an example of what he meant.
It’s O.K. to join a political party that supports your best interests and your ideological beliefs, but never discount a person, representative or a candidate because of the color of his or her political party. If we as American citizens take the time to understand what the people around us, our representatives and candidates for office stand for instead of just going down the line in the voting booth, we can craft a legislative body that truly represents our best interests and us.
Let this government shutdown be a wake-up to citizens and young professionals moving forward in the world.
A governing body is only as good as the people who elected it.
If we, as citizens, do not pay attention to our elected officials by watching their actions and giving feedback, why would they pay attention to us?