Archive for November, 2012

November 5, 2012

My Rant About Your Political Ranting

I get asked the question, “What the [insert your favorite four letter word here] is your job???” on almost a daily basis. Not just from strangers, but even from people I’ve explained it to a couple times. It’s a loaded question, so I don’t blame you. And with tomorrow marking one of the most important days in our history, and for my job, I figure there is no time like the present to try convincing you of the significance of what I do. I know you hate the terrible, confusing and frustrating political ads you see and hear. I do too. But I promise you, tuning out the election, and worse, not voting, is one of the most terrible things you can do.

In short, I do political grassroots advocacy. In long, I do public policy grassroots communication, strategy, advocacy, and management for companies across the nation. The D.C. based company that I work for does not lobby, nor do we consult for any candidate or campaign. We are a nonpartisan organization, with a mission to grow jobs and the economy in America. Essentially, we give companies – small, medium, and large – the tools, resources, strategy and outlet to understand how policies affect their ability to be successful and have continued growth. Our deeper mission, however, is to help those companies educate and communicate, in a nonpartisan manner, to their employees and customers on how politics effects their jobs, their paychecks, the skillsets and prosperity of their community. A vast majority of it is educational; communicating what the business issues are, the changes in the political system like redistricting, giving dates and deadlines, and explaining both sides of bills and propositions. We do this at the local, state, and federal level, because we believe that the local communities can make a difference in how the state is run. I look after five states on the West Coast, so I learn about the issues impacting business, helping companies and business organizations in each of my states. But I’m not writing to promote my company.

My hope is to help fix, even a little bit, the current system of political madness. My job is to communicate that throwing your hands up and refusing to vote because you ‘hate politics’ is hurting and effecting you, and future generations. It is your privilege to vote in this country, and your duty as a human-being to educate yourself on the issues that are most important to you. Sure, I understand that half the people reading this may not vote the same way I do. But as long as those people are taking the time to do a little research, read the news, ask questions, and actually cast a vote, that’s alright by me. I don’t care if you turn off the hateful ads on TV, and encourage you to instead go read the facts. I’m not just talking about voting for our next President. In fact, in my modest opinion, voting for the President is only a small token to give. You need to vote for the people who run in local and state elections, arguably even more so than those who run for Congress or President. The local and state laws and policies in the community you live in, is what affects your everyday life. Like whether you can use plastic bags in stores, or smoke inside buildings, or how education is funded in your state. These are the issues that matter.

I understand we don’t have a perfect system, but it really is better than most. Take it from me, an immigrant from South Africa. I understand that the media, political parties, and social media have shot themselves in the foot to get Americans to believe that your vote counts. But I’m here to tell you, that your vote DOES count. I talk with and listen to people in all different kinds of communities, in different states, with different issues – and they all say the same thing. “We have to change the way that people view getting engaged with politics, and stop them ranting about how much they hate politics.” Hating politics is not going to change the politics. Your political rant on Facebook about how you’re going to delete your annoying friends who talk about politics, only makes you look short sighted.

I’m not asking you to love politics, and I’m not asking you to turn your Facebook page into another negative campaign we all hate. I’m asking you to understand that your life IS affected by who holds political office at the local, state, and federal levels, and which policies they implement. I’m asking you to understand, that not voting doesn’t make you the ‘cool guy’, and you’re certainly not standing up for anything. I am asking you to pay attention to the issues and policies that impact our prosperity. I am asking you to educate yourself, and then vote.

At least think about it?

Happy voting my friends!